How the Syrian Government could prove us wrong.

It’s the day after the launch of our new report on Syria and as with most of our high profile reports, I have spent a significant part of today discussing our approach to researching alleged human rights violations.

Inevitably we have been challenged on our findings by individuals who are supporters of the Syrian authorities  – I don’t mean the people who say we are a CIA/Mossad/GCC/AlQaeda front organisation…....  I mean those who think our contacts in Syria are biased and Amnesty is guilty of not addressing abuses by armed opposition groups. 

The more sophisticated commentators are seeking to deflect the issue and locate the crisis within a short time frame, in particular since the emergence of the “Free Syrian Army” and other armed groups.

For sure this is a legitimate area of inquiry but let’s be clear, violations by the Syrian authorities are hardly a new phenomena and Amnesty has a long history of researching and campaigning against violations by the State, long before the uprising last year. It is clear that for a very long time the authorities have been failing in their own responsibility to protect Syrian civilians. 

But even if one were to take the Syrian governments line as 100% accurate it is odd that they still fail to co-operate fully with the UN observer mission who could verify government accounts. One would expect them to be breaking down the doors of the UN, demanding more observers who could help deter attacks from "terrorists" and verify government accounts for a Western public duped by "mainstream media"..

They continue to fail in providing full co-operation and unimpeded access to the independent international Commission of Inquiry to investigate ALL alleged crimes under international law and violations and abuses of international human rights law.

Also, they have not invited the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, as well as other relevant UN Special Procedure mandate holders so they can also carry out independent investigations and you would think, verify the governments accounts.

So If the Syrian authorities really wanted to show the world that their version of events  was correct surely they would agree to these obvious recommendations.

They are not unaware of these requests to investigate but they still refuse entry - you could say "what have they got to hide?" but by now we know the answer.

I hope those who act as apologists for the war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by the Syrian authorities will think about these inconsistencies in the Syrian government’s logic. I hope they will ask themselves what it is they are defending and what future they want for Syria. For the rest of you, sickened by the violence, please take action here.

 

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47 comments

All that you say is true: the Syrian regime has been and is still guilty of terrible human rights violations including murder and torture. But as one of the Syrian regime "apologists" myself there is another issue here.

The situation in Syria is now very dangerous and we need to be aware of this; an escalation leading to the deaths of millions is quite possible.

Few people seem to understand what is really going on here and the idea that intervention in Libya and Syria by the Western powers has anything to do with "humanitarian aid" is naive in the extreme.

This really about US/NATO control of the region. Look at the map. The US/NATO now control Saudi, Yemen, Oman and UAE and they have client states in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to the north. The strong nations that resisted American control, Libya and Iraq, have been eliminated. Only 2 countries remain: Syria and Iran and once these have also been eliminated, the US/NATO will have control of the entire region and with it over 70% of the worlds oil and natural gas.

However, the Syria situation is completely different and there is a real danger of an escalation here. The US has plans in place for an attack on Iran which are in the public domain. If there is military intervention by US/NATO then Iran has said that they will provide military assistance to help protect Syria. This will give US/NATO the opportunity/justification to attack Iran. The likely outcome would be a war that engulfs the entire middle-east and Asia. MILLIONS will die. (And remember the US has said publicly that they WILL use tactical nuclear weapons.)

And it gets worse: Russia regards Syria as an ally and have said they will not stand by and watch it destroyed. Similarly, China has strong links with Iran and will support them as far as possible. The consequences of either of these countries becoming involved is unimaginable as it would lead to World war 3. This is not scaremongering. And if US/NATO attacks the Iranian nuclear facilities which is what the US/NATO/UK is advocating, it would release a nuclear cloud that would cover most of Pakistan and North India. Few people seem to understand how dangerous this situation really is.

We need to focus upon stopping US/NATO (through Saudi, Qatar and Turkey) arming,training and funding the "rebels" as well as preventing the foreign mercenaries who are being brought in.This is what is escalating the situation. Only then will Russia agree to stop arming the regime.

cbeech 5 years ago

So, as I see it, we need to first try to stop the funding, training and supplying of arms to the "rebels." If Russia could be convinced that this is not yet another US/NATO attempt to destroy a country in order to replace the current regime with a more compliant one then they would be prepared to stop arms shipments as well as put pressure on Assad to stand down and pave the way for the introduction of real democratic and political reforms. In the end, a political solution is the only way to a lasting peace

cbeech 5 years ago

Hi cbeech - civilians are being tortured, raped and killed now..and civilians were being tortured, raped and killed long before there was anything called the Free Syrian Army.

Geopolitical speculations are not going to help those people living in fear right now of when the Syrian army will start shelling their homes and when the Shabiha will turn up to finish them off.

There is the brutal reality now and then there is geopolitical speculation.

Civilians need protecting now and that is where we are focused.


Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

Hi Kristyan Benedict - My fear is that your actions, however well-intentioned, will simply lead to an escalation of the current crisis.

You say: "civilians are being tortured, raped and killed now" True but the key question is this: WHAT STRATEGY WILL RESULT IN HALTING THIS VIOLENCE AND PREVENTING BLOODSHED IN THE FUTURE?

According to you: "Geopolitical speculations are not going to help those people living in fear right now" but if you do not understand the bigger picture: the sectarian and ethnic divisions within the country and the wider geo-political considerations, that strategy is likely to be flawed or even counter-productive as I believe yours is.

Your recent report has already been picked up by the mainstream media and is being used to justify the case for military intervention. We already know where this leads: the MILLIONS DEAD in Iraq and Libya that have conveniently been forgotten.

When hundreds of thousands more children are dead and mutilated, because the current crisis has degenerated into an all-out war and engulfed most of the middle East, will you still say that you were not interested in the geo-political situation?

cbeech 5 years ago

Hi cbeech thanks for your comment. I understand where you are coming from but it is actually a de-escalation of the conflict we want to see. We have laid out our recommendations to the Syrian government and the wider international community in our latest report - unfortunately the Syrian government are ignoring these and the UNSC are only acting on some parts for now.
I do think you need to recognise it is the Syrian government which are responsible for the vast majority of the violence and bloodshed that is why they are our primary focus.
As for the geopolitics, of course I do have a good understanding having been to Syria many times, studied the situation and benefit from a wide array of Syrian and regional contacts and it is for that reason I want a de-escalation based on a sound human rights based strategy.
It is true that some will use our reports to justify their own strategic goals in the region but that is an issue to take up with them. Amnesty researches and documents abuses and violations according to our own research standards based on our own human rights strategy.
So don’t think I am not interested in the geo political situation, that informs a lot of our strategic thinking but it is not the most important factor when civilians are being slaughtered now. It is our responsibility to ensure this stops now and that is what we are trying to do everyday.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

I agree with C Beech. I realise that the Syrian government is guilty of atrocities but so unfortunately are most countries in the world. But whereas my country the UK is unlikely to be invaded with millions of us killed for its part in the murders and tortures committed by itself and its allies (particularly the US and Israel) the same is not true of Syria. So yes I agree with the criticism of Syria but I think Amnesty should be far more critical of the actions of our governments complicity in far worse crimes than Assad has ever or will ever commit.
Rob

robbrookes 5 years ago

Hi Rob
We are big enough to work on Syria and human rights violations in other parts of the world – go to www.amnesty.org – go to the drop down menus on the right for countries and see our public outputs on the UK, USA & Israel if you like. This does not encompass the full range of our work but will give you an idea.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

The UN has the time frame commensurate with the emergence of the armed groups, the killing, in other words with the war.

"Although the Assad regime is one among many repressive regimes in the region some distinctions need to be made. First, this was a regime that brought relative stability to the country after series of coups in the post independence period. It accorded personal security and a right of existence to the religiously and ethnically plural fabric of society- but the price was repression." - Yakin Erturk formrly with the UN’s Commission of Inquiry on Syria

That was Syria, and it has come apart.

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

Gregory - you may have been happy with a Syria which was notorious for its repression, corruption, discrimination and poverty but millions of Syrians are not and are demanding real change.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

In Donatella Rivera's report from Syria, can you confirm whether she had her own camera?

doon25 5 years ago

What you fail to talk about, Mr Benedict, is who these FSA are, what crimes they have committed and what their intentions are. You present what they and 'activists' tell you as hard fact. Your view is thus - anyone who opposes the Syrian government is better by default.

What kind of organisation is this that calls anyone questioning the motives of the Syrian opposition and their backers, Assad supporters?

doon25 5 years ago

Kristyan

I don't say this lightly. but Amnesty may as well be the London propaganda office for the torturers referred to in the following BBC report.

'Staring half-dazed and terrified into the camera, a young soldier stands with his hands against a wall. Struggling to compose himself, and with blood streaming from his head, he pleads with his captor to allow him a few minutes to regain his senses. After some brief questioning by the cameraman, the video cuts. Seconds later, the camera pans along the soldier's lifeless body. "This is our gift to the regime," says the voice. "This is a gift to President Assad."'

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18693318

The regime provided a right of existence to the religiously and ethnically plural fabric of Syrian society. The armed opposition are going to pack the Christians off to Lebanon and exterminate as many of the pro-regime Alawi as fall into their hands.

The armed opposition are burning churches, killing journalists and proponents of non-intervention, attacking isolated villages, using car bombs and murdering most of their captives.

The largest demonstrations in Syria were pro-regime. I have no doubt they are orchestrated, but that's what a demonstration is supposed to be.

The broad thrust of the armed opposition is anti-Christian and virulently antipathetic to Assad's dominant sect. The rebellion is rooted in the sectarian hatred of the past.

The Amnesty strategy is to brand anybody questioning the sanity of your organization's posturing, of being an apologist for the Assad regime.

The Syrian people now have real change, a civil war of frightening brutality.

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

"Gregory - you may have been happy with a Syria which was notorious for its repression, corruption, discrimination and poverty but millions of Syrians are not and are demanding real change."

On this blog I have only repeated statements by the UN Commissioner for Human Rights and Yakin Erturk formerly with the UN’s Commission of Inquiry on Syria. The ideas I endorse are entirely orthodox, and it is Amnesty who are the wild card.

For e.g. the testimony re: regime torture, in HR reports, those victims are mostly or generally alive, the hundreds of pro-regime people tortured on video by the opposition are dead, and there is a significant difference.

The armed opposition in Syria are perpetrating crimes as evil and filthy as anything the the Bosnian Serb army inflicted upon their victims.

When one views a video of group of nominal FSA militia with their victims hanging from trees, or being dragged behind an SUV, it is a reasonable bet to assume the very best a captive can hope for is a bullet in the head.

Amnesty needs to get some corporate self-respect. The Syrian campaign has been a travesty of error.

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

Gregory - I wonder if you actually read the blog post - note these lines:

But even if one were to take the Syrian governments line as 100% accurate it is odd that they still fail to co-operate fully with the UN observer mission who could verify government accounts. One would expect them to be breaking down the doors of the UN, demanding more observers who could help deter attacks from "terrorists" and verify government accounts for a Western public duped by "mainstream media"..

They continue to fail in providing full co-operation and unimpeded access to the independent international Commission of Inquiry to investigate ALL alleged crimes under international law and violations and abuses of international human rights law.

Also, they have not invited the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, as well as other relevant UN Special Procedure mandate holders so they can also carry out independent investigations and you would think, verify the governments accounts.

So If the Syrian authorities really wanted to show the world that their version of events was correct surely they would agree to these obvious recommendations.

So....Can you (Gregory) answer why the Syrian authorities do not want the UN to reveal the truth?

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

Kristyan

In May 2011, for every soldier who died, four opposition activists also died. So, a security issue, to begin with, protesters were dying, and soldiers were dying.

The protesters were not killing the soldiers, invisible hands at work. So, as with NICRA in Northern Ireland, a secret organization decided to take over in Syria and do killing.

Yes, I know what you are saying, the Baathist apparatus is cynical and ruthless, the salutary decision as the crisis developed was whether they needed a "corrective" revolution of their own.

For e.g. Mrs Assad was complaining about the security services searching ambulances, and instructing the Syrian Red Crescent to stay neutral. That kind of thing, a worry to the old hands..

Why not invite the UN to have a look around? The Baathists have more to hide in what they may do, than what they have already accomplished.

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

I see you can't even be bothered to answer a simple question, Mr Benedict. Do I have to ask it again - did Donatella Rivera have a camera with her in Syria? It's not hard to answer.

doon25 5 years ago

Doon25 - i don't get an automatic update when there is a new comment so need to check in when I can..anyway yes she did have a camera and the photos in the report marked "Amnesty International" were all taken by her.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

I think with Ms Rovera's Guardian article the photo was courtesy of the Syrian Govt.

'Over sweet tea and Turkish coffee, the men discussed the future strategy for Aleppo province. "The PKK has decided to form a union with the FSA," said Sheikh Tawfiq. "They will not help us fight Assad, but there is a cold peace."'

It is turning into warlord China.

'Sheikh Tawfiq, who controls 15 villages in the province and has the power of life and death (Alessio Romenz)'

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9382582/Syria-United-rebels-gain-ground-as-slow-war-comes-to-Aleppo.html

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

The PKK referred to by the reclining FSA warlord are pro-regime, if Syria goes the way of Yugoslavia, the pro-Turkish elements, such as the FSA will be eliminating the PKK.

"According to Col. Asaad, the number of Kurdish soldiers in the FSA does not exceed 25."

http://www.rudaw.net/english/news/syria/4882.html

That is 25 more than the Alawite total.

:o)

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

'Over sweet tea and Turkish coffee, the men discussed the future strategy for Aleppo province. "The PKK has decided to form a union with the FSA," said Sheikh Tawfiq. "They will not help us fight Assad, but there is a cold peace."'

The photo of Sheikh Tawfiq reclining like a sultan had me in stitches,.

'Sheikh Tawfiq, who controls 15 villages in the province and has the power of life and death'

Tawfig the merciless! Why didn't Ms Rovera talk to him?


Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

Thank you for your reply. On youtube an Amnesty staff member has claimed Amnesty couldn't get cameras into Syria in response to Rivera's report. I take it that claim is false then?

doon25 5 years ago

Hi doon25 - send me the link as I don't know what that refers to. Donatella went in to Syria without permission from the Syrian authorities and with her own camera.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

This is the video on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-yZUsI3a1c&lc=kxlDVc05wLO2l-Nsri2P1TlaSYDqxjAz5qixaP5G7YY&feature=inbox

Please see the comments section.

What is the difference between Amnesty's cameras and Donatella's own camera?

doon25 5 years ago

Hi Doon25 - Our digital team are talking about Amnesty video cameras there - as I said, Donatella went in with her own camera (as in for photos)

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

Forgive me, but it sounds like a deceptive answer. So what if Amnesty couldn't get their own cameras in? Rivera had her own camera so Amnesty not getting their own cameras in is just a red herring.

Also, there is video footage taken by Rivera in a burnt out house in that video. So why is that the limit of Rivera's footage? The rest is video from activists posted on youtube.

doon25 5 years ago

Hi doon25 - You are entitled to interpret my response how you like - not much more I can do on that when there is so much more to do on Syria. If you think there is anything inaccurate in the report then say so.

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

Again, you make excuses.

There is plenty you can do - be honest for a start. The report is nothing more than Donatella Rivera listing off claims which she backs up with nothing.

She claims to have seen people being killed in marches - but she has no clue who these gunmen even are - yet she claims they are from the government?

Do you really believe the US/UK/France want a peaceful settlement and for the Annan plan to work?

As previous times when governments have kicked off plans for regime change you've been there hollering and screaming for them - RAPE...MURDER....CHILDREN DYING....ACTION BY THE RIGHTEOUS WEST NEEDED NOW....that is your mantra. You're mentality is ridiculous, I would say child-like but actually children tend to have a more open outlook. You paint a picture of good vs evil, pathetic narratives of monsters vs good guys. And yet when it comes to the west's motives you go deaf - you suddenly claim politics has nothing to do with it.

Your organisation has a lot of blood on it's hands. Your concern for human rights is a fraud.

doon25 5 years ago

Doon25 - again your interpretations - all misguided though if you actually read what we are saying and know what we are doing and understand the situation inside Syria...anyway I refer you to the actual blog post above - the Syrian Government could do a lot to prove us wrong - see the examples I set - however they refuse to take these actions...seems a tad odd no?

Kristyan BenedictStaff 5 years ago

Please answer my point - Donatella Rivera claims she saw men in plain clothes shooting people in protests - how does she know they are employed by the government? She doesn't. She is making claims without any evidence.

Are armed groups in opposition to the government virtuous by default? That they are not capable of murdering children to further their cause? Your organisation seems to think so.

Why should the Syrian government work with you? You and HRW helped lynch black men in Libya by spreading lies.

doon25 5 years ago

"Donatella went in to Syria without permission from the Syrian authorities and with her own camera."

The internet is absolutely packed with Syrian minorities accusing Amnesty of being wicked, evil, in cahoots with the Satan, NATO, and the USA. The Syria govt also views Amnesty as a Western stooge.

Alawites or Christians would alert the security forces if they encountered Ms Rovera illegally travelling around in their country. So, the Amnesty expedition truly was a propaganda piece for the Free Syrian Army, who were probably the tour guides.

Ms Rovera could not possibly interview Christians or Alawites.

The report also reads like an FSA propaganda piece.

It really does.

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

"Why should the Syrian government work with you? You and HRW helped lynch black men in Libya by spreading lies."



The Syrian govt. will absolutely, never work with Amnesty. That is the realm of the impossible. A lot of people have died, or are missing, been tortured or ransomed on video, the victims relatives are angry. There is no way the Govt can be seen working with an organization which has been a propaganda outlet for the insurgency.

I would also imagine the Russians will also be keeping links to an absolute basic 'thank you for your letter'.

The Rovera document on Syria is unquestionably the worst such report I have seen in 35 years.

It was a terrible mistake to publish it.

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

Hi Gregory, you've made your point several times now that you disagree with our research. We, however, stand by it and our Campaign Manager Kristyan has been clear that we've spoken to a wide range of Syrians including Alawites.

I'm not sure what else we can say to change your opinion - and that's fine. But I would ask that if you've nothing different to add to the conversation that you stop reposting the same general information in separate comments.

Emerson
Amnesty UK moderator

EmersonStaff 5 years ago

I just find it totally amazing that somebody can enter a country such as Syria illegally and pop over to an Alawite village and talk about the revolution, without the Alawites calling the security services.

:o)

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

Emerson, what you've failed to answer is the point about the cameras. Rivera obviously had a video camera with her - so why are you coming up with the excuse that Amnesty could not get their cameras into Syria?

Also, how does Donatella Rivera know who these plain clothed guys, walking into crowds and shooting people, are?

doon25 5 years ago

Photographs and video can of course be evidence when the circumstances can be established. The issue is one of verification.

for e.g. the explosion on the Sunday Times sympathy piece for Marie Colvin was the work of the Free Syrian Army. Once again the bad old regime got the blame for the work of their opponents.

http://wallblog.co.uk/files/2012/02/SundayTimesMarieColvin1.jpg

The latest massacre, @ Al-Tremseh may very well and simply be a case of the FSA taking on a Syrian army unit and getting thrashed.

I watched a lot of videos of the FSA falling upon the Syrian police like wolves as the Syrian govt. withdrew tanks from cities.

The police were driving around in vans and light vehicles, they were slaughtered, entire columns of unprotected police were shot to
pieces, and where was Amnesty then?

To report upon human rights, one has to start with objectivity.

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

Indeed, back at the start of this armed uprising police were murdered. The Syrian government are being told they need to protect citizens while at the same time being told to evacuate entire towns and let spivs with guns rule these areas. How is that protecting human rights? But in the simplistic world of Krystan Benedict the FSA are great guys who will defend all the citizens of these towns and keep law and order. What a joke.

We've seen what Amnesty did for NATO in Libya - helping give them a doorway in with lies of a massacre which then became an 'imminent massacre'. Then hoorayed as NATO turned the facade of a no-fly zone into a mission for regime change.

Human Rights my foot. Hang your heads in shame.

doon25 5 years ago

The group was still high on a recent attack that had destroyed a military camp nearby. In the end, they photographed the dead bodies of 35 soldiers, drove off a tank they now park under a tree in the village graveyard and held trials for five captured soldiers. All were found guilty of killing other Syrians.

"They traveled to Cyprus," al-Sheikh said with a grin. "On a fast plane."

http://www.newser.com/article/d9vitupg1/ap-impact-ap-trip-finds-syria-rebels-without-leader-disorganized-willing-to-kill-prisoners.html


The insurgents are by some accounts more of a Geneva convention problem than the pro-regime militia. In terms of actual 'prisoners' they are perhaps murdering most of them.

Apparently Amnesty's so-called thugs, the Shabiha are on the other hand officially obliged to take their prisoners to the authorities for a chit to be signed.

Amnesty also seem to be conceding many of the regime's prisoners after some rough handling live to oppose another day.

I discussed Amnesty's report a few days ago with British parliamentarians, and apparently the Red Cross expect more business from one side.

The Red Cross have complaints via the UN of the FSA attacking ambulances, clinics, and drenching wounded soldiers in gasoline, burning them alive.

The US govt are struggling to find FSA leaders who are not homicidal maniacs. So, it is a wild, wild civil war. Officially a civil war despite what Amnesty claim.

Gregory

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

Well, it is reassuring to see so many readers who are properly researching this rather than simply accepting the simplistic narrative we are being asked to believe (like Krystian.)
Here are some reports, from what appear to be reputable sources, that contradict the version that we are being bombarded with in the mainstream media:

"In Homs, Idlib and Hama, the Observer Mission witnessed acts of violence being committed against Government forces and civilians that resulted in several deaths and injuries. Examples of those acts include the bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children, and the bombing of a train carrying diesel oil. In another incident in Homs, a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers. A fuel pipeline and some small bridges were also bombed. "

"Such incidents include the bombing of buildings, trains carrying fuel, vehicles carrying diesel oil and explosions targeting the police, members of the media and fuel pipelines. Some of those attacks have been carried out by the Free Syrian Army and some by other armed opposition groups." (Report of the Head of the League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria for the period from 24 December 2011 to 18 January 2012)

"Those killed were almost exclusively from families belonging to Houla’s Alawi and Shia minorities. Over 90% of Houla’s population are Sunnis. Several dozen members of a family were slaughtered, which had converted from Sunni to Shia Islam. Members of the Shomaliya, an Alawi family, were also killed, as was the family of a Sunni member of the Syrian parliament who is regarded as a collaborator. Immediately following the massacre, the perpetrators are supposed to have filmed their victims and then presented them as Sunni victims in videos posted on the internet." (Neue Erkenntnisse zu Getöteten von Hula.Abermals Massaker in Syrien)

cbeech 5 years ago

And this is also worth reading:
"In Homs, called the "martyred city", "opposition forces have occupied two areas, Diwan Al Bustan and Hamidieh, where there are all the churches and bishoprics," the Archimandrite told Fides. "The picture for us – he continues - is utter desolation: the church of Mar Elian is half destroyed and that of Our Lady of Peace is still occupied by the rebels. Christian homes are severely damaged due to the fighting and completely emptied of their inhabitants, who fled without taking anything. The area of Hamidieh is still shelter to armed groups independent of each other, heavily armed and bankrolled by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. All Christians (138,000) have fled to Damascus and Lebanon, while others took refuge in the surrounding countryside.

The Syrian soldiers in fact, continue to face foreign fighters, mercenaries Libyans, Lebanese militants from the Gulf, Afghans, Turks. "The Sunni Salafist militants - says the Bishop - continue to commit crimes against civilians, or to recruit fighters with force. The fanatical Sunni extremists are fighting a holy war proudly, especially against the Alawites. When terrorists seek to control the religious identity of a suspect, they ask him to cite the genealogies dating back to Moses. And they ask to recite a prayer that the Alawites removed. The Alawites have no chance to get out alive." (Agenzia Fides, Vatican News Service, 4 June 2012)

cbeech 5 years ago

" In another incident in Homs, a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers. A fuel pipeline and some small bridges were also bombed. "


A coin has two sides, if I say it has one, that doesn't make me half right, that makes me a liar.

The FSA began murdering oil workers and destroying petro-industry infrastructure and when it was covered in the media, it was to hijack the images of destruction for Marie Colvin's obituary piece and like much of the reportage it was a lie.

Amnesty has not once remarked about the tonnage of explosives the FSA have detonated within urban settings, in booby traps, anti-tank traps, cottage industry bomb factories self-destructing etc.

With the latter we are told 'scud missile attack on Hama' which is a variation of the downed Turkish jet deceptions, if there is one thing NATO can spot and track with ease, it is a ballistic missile in a neighboring zip code to Iran.

So the FSA bomb factory blowing up a quarter of a city, was another sickening massacre by the regime and Journalists murdered by the west's favored homicidal maniacs become 'propagandists'.





Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

'Visiting Abu Dhabi, the SNC chief said the rebels need weapons that can stop tanks and planes. He said that such supplies will "make Syrians able to defend themselves against this killing machine."'

The insurgents @ Aleppo are a minority of a minority, without authentic politics. The sectarian forces are falling upon a city the same way the Bosnian Serb Army fell upon Srebrenica. Tens of thousands of Christians are being driven from their homes by the threat of these bandits.

The real threat to civilians @ Aleppo is one of massacre, at the hands of paramilitary primitives.

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

"One would expect them to be breaking down the doors of the UN, demanding more observers who could help deter attacks from "terrorists""

I remember Gaddafi's government in Libya begging and screaming for international observers. They never came. Regime change was decided on there, and it has been decided on here.

In any case, it wasn't really Assad who sabotaged the peace initiative was it...

GregHarton 5 years ago

"In Damascus, the FSA, the opposition's main armed wing, threatened to kill 45 Iranian pilgrims it had kidnapped, claiming they were Iranian Revolutionary Guards who were helping the Syrian regime crush unrest."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/06/syria-prime-minister-defect-blow?newsfeed=true

Amnesty's propaganda efforts on behalf of armed abductors, I refer to Amnesty's distribution of FSA Geneva convention promises of the FSA, are looking threadbare.

I think Amnesty's knowledge base is attributable to a fawning relationship with the FSA which may not have been conducted with a sufficient degree of removal.

It is extremely difficult to understand why Amnesty is not asking for an arms embargo on the _specific_ FSA units clearly involved in crimes against humanity.

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago

'If you think there is anything inaccurate in the report then say so.'

Mr Benedict, I have asked how Ms Rivera knew these guys in plain clothes shooting people in crowds were from the Syrian government. You have not responded.

Also, it is not difficult to say whether Ms Rivera had a video camera or not. Claiming you're 'too busy' with Syria to reply is beyond lame.

It appears she did have a video camera so all your excuses of not being able to get cameras in to Syria to get footage are bunkum. Your 'report' is nothing more than stitched activist footage with Ms Rivera making blanket claims which she cannot back up one iota.

BTW, I asked you on your Twitter account and you blocked me calling me an 'Assad Bot'. I hope your employers are impressed with your conduct.

doon25 5 years ago

Hi Gregory Carlin

I completely understand your frustration seeing a once respected organisation like Amnesty taking on the role of NATO propagandists and appearing to support armed conflict. I have been reading these Amnesty Syria campaigns with utter disbelief at the level of ignorance of what is really happening in Syria. And really, there is no excuse: I realise that it is increasingly difficult to discover the truth today but it is still possible with detailed research. There are dozens of well-informed analysts who have an in-depth knowledge of the situation, for example, Sami Ramadani from London Met:

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=8662

Of course, the Syrian people want democracy, human rights and freedom from oppression but for most Syrians, I believe the complete destruction of their country would be too high a price to pay. Amnesty seem to want a re-run of Iraq and Libya where once prosperous countries are utterly ruined and if I recall correctly, they were instrumental in causing this (remember the “babies torn from incubators by Iraqi troops” that Amnesty reported that later turned out to be a complete fabrication – very much like their coverage of the Houla massacre!)

To Krystian Benedict – Many dictatorships have been overthrown in the last 30 years by the people without resorting to armed conflict and without external intervention. Remember Aung San Suu Kyi, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
Try reading Gene Sharp’s book From Dictatorship to Democracy or listen to the peace activist, Scilla Elsworthy on how to successfully fight oppression using non-violence:

http://www.ted.com/talks/scilla_elworthy_fighting_with_non_violence.html

If you really wanted to help stop the violence rather than being a cheerleader for NATO intervention, you would be asking Amnesty members to email the British Foreign Minister or representatives from Turkey, France US, UK, Israel, Qatar or Saudi who are primarily responsible for escalating the conflict by arming, funding and transporting the huge numbers of foreign fighters who are now flooding into the country.


cbeech 5 years ago

I grew up believing that AI is an honourable institution. But recent internet articles prove otherwise.

Is it true that Kuwaiti government gave $500,000 to AI to make a false declarattion, in 1991, that Iraqi soldiers had torn babies from their incubators in Kuwait and left them to die on the floor of the hospital's neo-natal unit. This has not been denied by the AI.

Why did the AI instigated and organised a demonstration by Council for Arab British Understanding calling for the overthrow of the sovereign Syrian government, outside Syrian Embassy, only last year?

Amnesty International has released satellite pictures of "craters" in Syria, citing : "an increased use of heavy weaponry, including near residential areas".

The BBC reports, quoting Amnesty: "Images from Anadan revealed more than 600 probable artillery impact craters from heavy fighting between Syrian armed forces and armed opposition groups."

Is this taking sides by AI? I am sorry, like everyone one else on this earth I findout what is happening in the outside world by the media. Some media are biased we all know that. But AI should not take sides. I have seen Asia Times article and the video of the FSA shooting officials of the Syrian Government. I am stopping my donations to the AI from today. I am Sorry that, this is the only way for a little me to demonstrate against vile organisations.

alwaysshariff 5 years ago



When the FSA see a school, they know exactly where they are going to torture and murder their prisoners. In that respect, exactly like the Khmer Rouge. How the armed opposition in Syria became media darlings, is something that will be studied for decades. The civil war in Syria, it is absolutely unique.

Gregory Carlin 5 years ago