News Release

Amnesty International “Stokes Syrian War”

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RICK STERLING, rsterling1 [at] gmail.comno fly zone
Sterling is an independent investigative journalist who just wrote the piece “Amnesty International Stokes Syrian War” for ConsortiumNews.com — which states: “On Feb. 7, Amnesty International released a new report titled ‘Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison,’ which accuses the Syrian government of executing thousands of political prisoners, a set of accusations that has received uncritical treatment in the mainstream news media.

“Like the Iraq/Kuwait incubator story and the Libyan ‘mercenary’ story, the ‘Human Slaughterhouse’ report is coming at a critical time. It accuses and convicts the Syrian government of horrible atrocities against civilians — and AI explicitly calls for the international community to take ‘action.’ But the AI report is deeply biased and amounts to a kangaroo-court conviction of the Syrian government. …

“The Amnesty International report violates the organization’s own research standards. As documented by Professor Tim Hayward here, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, claims that Amnesty does its research ‘in a very systematic, primary, way where we collect evidence with our own staff on the ground. And every aspect of our data collection is based on corroboration and cross-checking from all parties, even if there are, you know, many parties in any situation because of all of the issues we deal with are quite contested. So it’s very important to get different points of view and constantly cross check and verify the facts.’

“But the Amnesty report fails on all counts: it relies on third parties, it did not gather its information from different points of view, and it did not cross-check with all parties. The report’s conclusions are not based on primary sources, material evidence or AI’s own staff; the findings are solely based on the claims of anonymous individuals, mostly in southern Turkey from where the war on Syria is coordinated. …

“While the Amnesty report makes many accusations against the Syrian government, AI ignores the violation of Syrian sovereignty being committed by Western and Gulf countries. It is a curious fact that big NGOs such as Amnesty International focus on violations of ‘human rights law’ and ‘humanitarian law’ but ignore the crime of aggression, also called the crime against peace. …

“The co-author of this Amnesty International report is Nicolette Waldman (Boehland), who was uncritically interviewed on ‘Democracy Now’ on Feb. 9. The background and previous work of Waldman shows the inter-connections between influential Washington ‘think tanks’ and the billionaires’ foundations that fund ‘non-governmental organizations’ — NGOs — that claim to be independent but are clearly not.

“Waldman previously worked for the ‘Center for Civilians in Conflict,’ which is directed by leaders from George Soros’s Open Society, the Soros-funded Human Rights Watch, Blackrock Solutions and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

“CNAS may be the most significant indication of political orientation since it is led by Michele Flournoy, who was expected to become Secretary of Defense if Hillary Clinton had won the election. CNAS has been a leading force behind neoconservative and liberal-interventionist plans to escalate the war in Syria.”

See response to Amnesty International from Syrian dissident Nizar Nayouf — posted on As’ad AbuKhalil’s “Angry Arab” blog.

See on-the-ground journalist’s Patrick Cockburn’s recent piece on misreporting on Syria and Iraq in the London Review of Books: “Who supplies the news?

See: Ian Sinclair’s new piece “Why Is the Media Ignoring Leaked U.S. Government Documents About Syria?” from AlterNet: “In summary, the leaked information wholly contradicts the popular picture of Western benevolent intentions let down by President Obama’s ineffective leadership and inaction. Instead the evidence shows the U.S. has been sending an ‘extraordinary amount’ of weapons to the armed insurgents in Syria … They did this understanding that sending in weapons would escalate the fighting and not ‘end well for Syrians.’ Furthermore, the U.S. has long known that its regional ally Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have been supporting extremists in Syria. And, most shocking of all if true, both Kerry and the DIA report seem to show the U.S. allowed forerunners to ISIL and/or ISIL itself to expand and threaten the Syrian Government as this corresponded with the US’s geo-strategic objectives.”

See James Peck — author of Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-Opted Human Rights — on 2011 Institute for Public Accuracy news release: “Libya and Syria: Humanitarian War is a ‘Monstrous Illusion.’