The Holocaustian Propaganda Campaign against Bashar al-Assad

Holocaust Propaganda Deliberately Used to Cause War
Published: 2017-06-30

The website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has a page about the conflict in Syria where, it declares:

"Seven decades after the Holocaust and despite promises of Never Again, a regime is targeting its own people while the international community stands by." (USHMM, Syria: Introduction)

The same message was elaborated during a ceremony staged by the USHMM in the U.S. Capitol on 25 April 2017, where the Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer complained at length about the "indifference" of the United States and other countries to the alleged suffering of Jews during the Holocaust. This was the prelude to praising President Donald Trump for having launched a missile strike against Syria on 6 April:

“The exceptions have been like the one that President Trump made this month to respond to a chemical attack by the Assad regime against innocent men, women and children. That decision was a defiance of indifference.” (CSPAN)

Thus it turns out that one of the famous lessons of the Holocaust, which we are all obliged to heed, is that we must not be "indifferent," and that a good way to show that we are not indifferent is to attack Syria.

For Dermer, of course, there is a political interest in harming Syria, as a longtime adversary of the State of Israel.

For non-Zionists, however, a good reason for "indifference" to the accusations against Bashar al-Assad is that the alternative to Assad, even if every horror story about him were true, is clearly worse. Assad's opponents include men who are notorious for eating the liver of their slain opponents, destroying important ancient cultural monuments, enslaving non-Muslim women, and committing mass murders based on religious sectarianism.

Given that such atrocities of the anti-Assad forces have been widely publicized for several years, the USHMM's narrative can hardly omit to mention them, but nonetheless treats them as relatively unimportant, emphasizing the accusations against Assad. It is like acknowledging the brutality of Stalin's government only to assert that Hitler's deeds are worse. That is however a point of contention.

Aetiology of the Conflict

This is how the USHMM describes the start of the conflict in the Syrian town of Deraa:

"Beginning in March 2011, in the midst of the Arab Spring, Syrians staged mass demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad, demanding democratic reforms. The regime reacted with lethal violence, which provoked an armed response, and by mid-2012 the country was in the midst of a full-scale civil war." (USHMM, Syria: Introduction)

The USHMM blames Assad for creating the religious-sectarian conflict that we now see:

"It has since taken on sectarian dimensions, and civilians have been targeted for atrocities based on their religious affiliation. President Assad intentionally sought this transformation to justify his continued hold on power by playing to the religious minorities’ fear of persecution should the Sunni majority take power." (USHMM, From a Democratic Uprising to a Full-Scale War)

So, the USHMM would have us believe that what happened at Deraa in March 2011, at the beginning of the current anti-Assad violence, was an entirely spontaneous homegrown protest without any religious motive, and that there would have been no violence without provocation from the government of Bashar al-Assad. Furthermore, we are supposed to believe that the secular government of Bashar al-Assad has somehow caused the sectarian nature of the conflict.

It is, on its face, unreasonable to blame Assad for the religious extremism of his enemies. Some religious-extremist element will exist whether Assad wishes it or not. But more importantly, the fostering of religious extremism has long been a tool of Zionist and U.S. strategy in the Muslim World. An early example of this (in the 1980s) was the aggregation and enabling of the Mujahedeen to overthrow the (pro-Soviet) secular government of Afghanistan. Support for religious extremists is an obvious way to create problems for secular Arab Nationalist states (like Syria) that happen to be enemies of the State of Israel. Within the State of Israel, the Israeli government fostered the growth of Hamas, granting registered-charity status to that organization under its original name, al-Mujama, in 1978 (Barry M. Rubin, Guide to Islamist Movements), with the result that Palestinians became divided between nationalist and Islamist movements. In Libya, the beneficent secular government of Muammar Qaddafi was overthrown (with enormous outside assistance) by religious maniacs. Religious extremism was such a common feature of the “Arab Spring” when the disturbances against Assad began that it takes enormous chutzpah for the USHMM to suggest that Bashar al-Assad had deliberately caused this in Syria.

There is another version of the beginning of the conflict, completely different from the USHMM's account, presented by Steven Sahiounie in the American Herald Tribune of 10 August 2016. According to Sahiounie, religious fanatics from Libya who had participated in the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi were brought to Deraa, and were supplied with weapons by the CIA. The essentially foreign project of subversion was given a Syrian face with the cooperation of local Salafists. Thus, as Sahiounie tells the story, the anti-Assad movement was imbued with a religious-sectarianist motive and populated with Libyan foreign fighters and sponsored by foreign powers (especially the United States) from the start.

Rick Sterling, writing for Counterpunch, also indicates that the anti-Assad movement was never nonviolent:

"In the first protests in Deraa seven police were killed. Two weeks later there was a massacre of 60 security forces in Deraa. In Homs, an eye-witness recounted the situation: 'From the start, the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.' In the first two months, hundreds of police and security forces were killed." (R. Sterling, Counterpunch, 6 September 2016)

It is completely believable that an attempt to engineer the overthrow of President Assad was organized from abroad, because this is what had happened only a short time earlier in Libya, where the secular government was overthrown by religious fanatics (S. Peterson, Christian Science Monitor, 30 March 2011) but with the role of the United States being so pivotal that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could take credit for the overthrow and even the murder of Qaddafi, declaring

"We came, we saw, he died!"

It is interesting how the USHMM, while admitting that foreign governments have meddled in Syria, avoids naming them. It admits:

"the efforts of foreign governments to affect the outcome of the Syrian conflict have contributed to the escalation and increasingly sectarian nature of the violence." (USHMM, The Failure of International Policies)

And here is an even more remarkable circumlocution:

"... [G]overnments in the region, hoping to curtail Iranian influence in the Middle East through regime change in Iran’s most important client state, have permitted or supported the arming and funding of extremist jihadi groups and their infiltration into Syria." (ibid.)

The preeminent "foreign government" that has been “hoping to curtail Iranian influence” and hoping to eliminate the Syrian state (which supports Hezbollah, the militia that humiliated Israeli forces in two wars) is the State of Israel, which has indeed been giving material assistance to religious extremists in Syria, specifically al-Nusra. UN observers noticed this several years ago (UN Tribune, 4 December 2014). This Israeli interest is why ambassador Ron Dermer praised President Trump's missile strike.

But the USHMM does not name the governments that support the anti-Assad forces, and thus avoids mentioning that Israel is one of them. This is a fact that would cast the entire conflict into a different light, and of course draw attention to the USHMM's role as a disseminator of Zionist propaganda.

The USHMM's account of how the Syrian turmoil began as an innocent protest, and supposedly only later turned into an insurrection of religious fanatics – supposedly because Assad wanted it that way – is not very credible. It was from the beginning a religious conflict instigated and supported from abroad, for the obvious purpose of enhancing the security of the State of Israel by continuing the process of regime-change that took a big step forward with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

USHMM's Biased Account of Warfare in Syria

The USHMM represents the Battle of Aleppo in terms of suffering inflicted by Assad's forces:

"In the summer of 2016, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stepped up its attacks on rebel forces and Syrian civilians, this time besieging the ancient city of Aleppo. In Syria’s largest city, territory had been divided between government control in the west and opposition control in the east. The government surrounded the eastern part of the city, indiscriminately bombing the residents and systematically blocking delivery of food and medical supplies." (USHMM, #SaveSyria)

The USHMM also presents a three-minute video about Aleppo that declares:

"For the last five years, Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime has systematically tortured and killed civilians under the guise of targeting opposition fighters." (ibid.)

Since Assad's government had a very specific goal in Aleppo – to recapture the city – it seems highly unlikely that they deliberately attacked Syrian civilians. Such a waste of munitions would have served no purpose, indeed would only have generated sympathy for the anti-Assad forces. (Assad says this in his interview with Yahoo News on 10 February 2017.)

The fact that the Syrian government uses “barrel bombs” – described and shown in the USHMM's video as a high-explosive munition dropped on a parachute from a helicopter – is no proof that civilians injured by these bombs were intended targets. In fact, the way “barrel bombs” are delivered – slowly descending from a relatively high altitude and highly visible because of the parachute – seems calculated to give civilians a chance to escape the blast. (Certainly, without the parachute, escape would be more difficult.) A physician who speaks in the USHMM's video, Mohammed Sahloul, even mentions that running for cover is an option.

The impossibility of totally avoiding harm to Syrian civilians under the conditions of that war was recently declared by Secretary of Defense James Mattis, fending off complaints about civilian deaths that American forces had caused while attacking ISIS:

“civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation.” (quoted by D. Wood, Huffington Post, 13 June 2017)

If James Mattis says that civilian casualties are a fact of life for the most sophisticated armed forces in the world in that kind of situation, then they are certainly unavoidable for the armed forces of Syria in the same situation.

During the U.S. invasion of Iraq, unintended civilian deaths were called “collateral damage.” Misrepresentation of collateral damage as the intended targets of German bombing during the Second World War was an important element of Anglo-American propaganda. It seems that everyone should have grown wise to this kind of propaganda by now.

The Malignant Influence of Elie Wiesel

Peace-Prize winner Elie Wiesel may have been the first to use the Holocaust to try to push the United States into a war in Syria. President Barack Obama was present for the USHMM's “Days of Remembrance” ceremony in April 2012, discussing his administration's policies regarding Syria and Iran. (L. Rennert, American Thinker, 23 April 2012). Wiesel used the occasion to humiliate Obama for inaction, in effect calling for war against Syria. Wiesel compared the USA's inaction against Assad in Syria (and Ahmadinejad in Iran) to the USA's earlier hesitation to get involved in the Second World War – a hesitation that is supposed to have allowed the Holocaust to happen.

"It could have been prevented. The greatest tragedy in history could have been prevented had the civilized world spoken up, taken measures in 1939, ‘40, ‘41, ‘42. Each time, in Berlin, Goebbels and the others always wanted to see what would be the reaction in Washington and London and Rome, and there was no reaction so they felt they could continue."

“So in this place we may ask: Have we learned anything from it? If so, how is it that Assad is still in power? How is it that the No. 1 Holocaust denier Ahmadinejad is still a president? He who threatens to use nuclear weapons to destroy the Jewish state." (quoted by J. Rogin, Foreign Policy, 23 April 2012)

This is of course the form of warmongering rhetoric now employed by the USHMM and by Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer.

Wiesel also wrote an op-ed about US foreign policy toward Syria that appeared in the Washington Post of 8 June 2012. Formally, Wiesel dismissed the possibility of going to war, not because it was undesirable but “Because the American people are tired of waging distant wars.” Wiesel recommended, instead, a course of action that would very likely lead indirectly to war:

"Why not warn Assad that, unless he stops the murderous policy he is engaged in, he will be arrested and brought to the international criminal court in the Hague and charged with committing crimes against humanity?" (E. Wiesel, Washington Post, 8 June 2012)

In other words, Wiesel suggested issuing an ultimatum. The problem is that an ultimatum requires action if there is an appearance that it has been ignored. Thus it is a backdoor to war. The “red line” enunciated by Obama on 20 August 2012 resembles the course of action that Wiesel had urged.

On 28 September 2014, forty rabbis sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi in support of the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act (HR 5732), stating:

“Our teacher Elie Wiesel taught us that wherever there is suffering, that is the center of the world…. Syria is the center of the world today. Each day, we open our newspapers to see distressing images of more wailing and injured children in the city of Aleppo, which is now experiencing the worst air attacks of the entire Syrian conflict.”

This "Protection Act" represented another indirect path to war.

Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, was at the time held by Jabhat al-Nusra, which (according to UN observers) receives assistance from the State of Israel (B. Ravid, Ha'aretz, 7 December 2014) and the Syrian government at the time happened to be attempting to recapture the city. Thus, these forty rabbis, as they invoked the name of Elie Wiesel and the Holocaust, seem to have been trying to mobilize assistance for a proxy of the State of Israel.

In the last weeks of the Obama administration, Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, was due to speak at a memorial service for Elie Wiesel at the USHMM. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (noteworthy for his connection to pop singer Michael Jackson) used the name of Elie Wiesel to try to shame her into advocating military action against the government of Syria:

"She should speak about the appalling American failure in Syria and how the nations of the world must stop the carnage and slaughter. She should express her unending friendship with Israel and the Jewish people and publicly condemn the despicable government of Iran for daring to even threaten a second Holocaust....

"And if she feels uncomfortable, in the last few weeks of her ambassadorship, speaking truth to power, then she should consider doing the right thing by removing herself from the Elie Wiesel Memorial Lecture and allowing someone else to take her place." (S. Boteach, Jerusalem Post, 21 November 2016)

After the gassing incident of April 2017, a letter from ninety rabbis, quoting Elie Wiesel's advocacy of military intervention and advocating a missile strike, was sent to President Trump. Again, the name of Elie Wiesel was invoked:

"Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said in 2012, 'the so-called civilized world isn’t even trying to stop the massacre. Its leaders issue statements, but the bloodshed continues. A situation that has lasted 13-odd months is not about to end.'

"The Assad regime will not cease these brutal attacks unless it faces the threat of serious military repercussions such as airstrikes against air bases associated with chemical weapons and suspected storage facilities." (Forward, 6 April 2017)

The fact that Hillary Clinton had advocated a missile strike against an airbase shortly before Trump's action has been widely noted, but the source of the idea, these rabbis quoting Elie Wiesel, has been discussed little if at all.

Gassing Accusations

Arab states have sought chemical weapons as a relatively inexpensive way to counter the threat of Israel's nuclear arsenal. Pressure to give up those "poor man's nukes" can be created through incessant accusations that such weapons have been used against civilians. The accusation against Saddam Hussein, that he had “gassed his own people,” was used in precisely this way, and led to Iraq's being coerced to abandon its chemical weapons (along with any missiles that could reach Israel) in 1991. A similar accusation led to Syria's semi-voluntary abandonment of chemical weapons in 2014.

But, beyond that, this kind of accusation lays a foundation for Hitler comparisons and invocations of "good versus evil." This is the standard form of propaganda used to incite wars that have no evident relevance for American interests.

As much as Assad's enemies would like to accuse him of gassing his own people, it has been problematic for them to do that.

It was on 5 May 2013, several months after Obama drew his “red line,” that Carla del Ponte, a Swiss member of UN observers' team in Syria, announced that the team had found many instances of the anti-Assad forces' use of chemical weapons, but no instance of Assad's government doing so. (Reuters, 5 May 2013)

When an attack on civilians with sarin gas occurred at Ghouta in August 2013, the claim that Assad's government had done it was pushed hard, but encountered skepticism.

Professor Theodore A. Postol of MIT was an important skeptic toward the anti-Assad narrative about what happened at Ghouta. Seymour Hersh summarized Postol's position on that gassing incident as follows:

Theodore Postol, a professor of technology and national security at MIT, reviewed the UN photos with a group of his colleagues and concluded that the large calibre rocket was an improvised munition that was very likely manufactured locally. He told me that it was ‘something you could produce in a modestly capable machine shop’. The rocket in the photos, he added, fails to match the specifications of a similar but smaller rocket known to be in the Syrian arsenal. The New York Times, again relying on data in the UN report, also analysed the flight path of two of the spent rockets that were believed to have carried sarin, and concluded that the angle of descent ‘pointed directly’ to their being fired from a Syrian army base more than nine kilometres from the landing zone. Postol, who has served as the scientific adviser to the chief of naval operations in the Pentagon, said that the assertions in the Times and elsewhere ‘were not based on actual observations’. He concluded that the flight path analyses in particular were, as he put it in an email, ‘totally nuts’ because a thorough study demonstrated that the range of the improvised rockets was ‘unlikely’ to be more than two kilometres. (S. Hersh, "Whose Sarin?", London Review of Books, 19 November 2013)

In summary, Postol says that the rocket used in the 2013 attack at Ghouta was improvised and not from the Syrian arsenal, and that its range would not have allowed it to be fired from pro-Assad territory.

An Israeli-American political scientist named Yossef Bodansky, Director of Research of the International Strategic Studies Association and former Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the US House of Representatives, wrote an article titled “Did the White House Help Plan the Syrian Chemical Attack?” in which he stated:

"There is a growing volume of new evidence from numerous sources in the Middle East — mostly affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its sponsors and supporters — which makes a very strong case, based on solid circumstantial evidence, that the August 21, 2013, chemical strike in the Damascus suburbs was indeed a pre-meditated provocation by the Syrian opposition." (Y. Bodansky, Global Research, 1 September 2013)

Bodansky was convinced that Assad had not done the attack. He goes on to suggest that the Obama Administration may have had advance knowledge and may have participated in planning the gas attack at Ghouta, to frame Assad.

Bodansky's view was publicized by Rush Limbaugh, who, furthermore, informed his audience that the anti-Assad forces were known to possess chemical weapons, and opined that Assad had no motive to launch such an attack (3 September 2013).

According to Theodore Postol, Obama ultimately decided not to attack Syria for crossing his "red line" because Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told him that the case against Assad was “not a slamdunk.” (T. Postol, 11 April 2017) In other words, the case against Assad was not even as convincing as the case against Saddam Hussein had been in 2003. International support for the attack was also very shaky: the House of Commons surprisingly voted against British participation in a U.S.-led operation that was being contemplated (BBC, 30 August 2013).

In 2017 another gassing incident was blamed on Assad. A few days after President Trump's administration announced that it had no interest in regime change in Syria, on 4 April, a gassing incident at Khan Sheikhoun was used to pull the United States back into an anti-Assad posture.

Professor Postol says that the physical evidence for the attack is inconsistent with the story that a chemical munition was dropped from the sky by the Syrian airforce. On the tentative assumption that what is represented as the source of the sarin really was the source, what Postol sees is an improvised sarin-dispersal device: the metal cylinder that is supposed to have delivered the sarin appears to have been ruptured and crushed by an explosive device placed on top of it.

Former U.S. intelligence officer Philip Giraldi is another prominent skeptic. He points out that nearly all the information about the alleged attack comes from sources hostile to Assad (The American Conservative, 25 April 2017). 

Tulsi Gabbard, the only Hindu member of the United States Congress, expressed her own reasonable skepticism about Assad's responsibility for the attack at Khan Sheikhoun, and was immediately isolated as a pariah in the Democratic Party (R. Borosage, The Nation, 12 April 2017).

On the Republican side, Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky offered the self-evident observation that such an attack would not have served any purpose for Assad. For his candor and integrity, Congressman Massie was treated by CNN's interviewer as a dangerous nut. (CNN, 5 April 2017)

Skepticism about the false-flag gassing at Khan Sheikhoun has been propagated mostly via blogs and social media, getting very little notice in major news media, with notable exceptions including The Savage Nation on 6 April 2017 (and to some extent on the following day), Deutsche Welle on 6 April 2017, Russia Today on 12 April, the Nation magazine of 19 AprilThe Telegraph on 11 May (with an essay on the matter by the Russian ambassador to Britain), and Democracy Now on 13 April (when guest Johnathan Steele cited Theodore Postol) and 28 May (when guest Noam Chomsky cited Postol). Rush Limbaugh, who voiced skepticism about Assad's culpability in 2013, today seems to suffer amnesia as he dogmatically declares that Assad has been gassing his own people for seven years and retroactively upbraids Obama for not punishing Assad's violation of the “red line.”

Because of the general blackout on skepticism toward the gassing accusation, it is likely that most Americans have continued to believe that Assad's government, for no good reason, attacked innocent Syrian civilians with poison gas.

Accusation of an Industrial Killing Center

The preeminent example of an “industrial killing center” (Werner Sollors, The Temptation of Despair, Harvard U. Press 2014) or “human slaughterhouse” (D. Goldberg, Canadian Jewish Chronicle, 17 February 1956) in the public mind is of course Auschwitz-Birkenau. Now Bashar al-Assad is accused in such terms.

An entirely anonymous and faceless person, known to the public only by the pseudonym Caesar, is supposed to have assembled a portfolio of 55,000 photographs of persons killed while in the custody of the Syrian government.

A report on Caesar's photos was commissioned by the government of Qatar, which is hostile to Syria, through the British Carter-Ruck law firm, which hired a committee of three former war-crimes prosecutors, Sir Desmond Lorenz de Silva QC, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, and Professor David Crane, to compile the report, which was published on 20 January 2014. Most news-media greeted the report credulously. 

The State Department arranged for Caesar to come to the United States. Caesar's first destination when he arrived in Washington in July 2014 was the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where on 28 July he was introduced to a small audience of reporters and researchers by former Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. Concealment of Caesar's identity was maintained during the presentation.

The USHMM arranged an exhibit of Caesar's photos, called Genocide: The Threat Continues. For this display a mere one dozen images were selected, one might say cherrypicked, from Caesar's 55 thousand images.

The Russian government's news channel for foreign audiences, Russia Today, criticized the USHMM's use of the Holocaust for warmongering against Syria:

"Since its creation after WWII, Israel and friends have been masters at manipulating emotions, endlessly invoking the memory of Hitler’s Germany as a pretext for starting further wars as in the recent Holocaust-themed propaganda against Syria’s government.

"'The irony is that the Nazi holocaust has now become the main ideological weapon for launching wars of aggression,' Norman Finkelstein tells Yoav Shamir in Defamation, the Israeli filmmaker’s award-winning 2009 documentary on how perceptions of anti-Semitism affect Israeli and US politics. 'Every time you want to launch a war of aggression, drag in the Nazi holocaust.'

"If you’re looking for evidence in support of Finkelstein’s thesis today, you need look no further than the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s exhibitof images of emaciated and mutilated bodies from contemporary Syria." (“Using the Holocaust to justify war on Assad,” Russia Today, 30 October 2014)

Beyond merely criticizing how the USHMM used the evidence proffered by “Caesar,” questions about the credibility of that evidence were raised by Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor and by Rick Sterling writing for Counterpunch.

While Murphy found the claim that Assad's government had killed 11,000 prisoners since 2011 believable per se, he found the source and the nature of this evidence, and the obvious motive behind it, problematic.

First:

“This is a single source report, from an unidentified man....”

Murphy notes that the little that is revealed about Caesar indicates that he is biased. He is related by marriage to a member of the Syrian National Movement, an anti-Assad group. Caesar has been collaborating with this opponent of Assad since approximately September 2011, which means, not as the result of some disilllusionment that developed in the course of the conflict, but from the first weeks of it.

Murphy notes that the committee that was supposed to validate Caesar's evidence did not put much time into it. They interviewed him on 12, 13, and 18 of January 2014 and released the report only two days after the last interview. Murphy notes that the report's executive summary, the only portion that many people will read, is misleading about the report's thoroughness, indicating that it is quite thorough when in fact only 835 of the alleged 11,000 persons killed while in custody of the Syrian government were “evaluated in detail.”

Furthermore, while the Caesar Report was compiled by three former war-crimes prosecutors, Murphy does not consider war-crimes prosecutors, as a class, to be especially credible:

“Just consider Luis Moreno Ocampo's absurd claims about Viagra and mass rape in Muammar Qaddafi's Libya in 2011. War crimes prosecutors have, unsurprisingly, a bias towards wanting to bolster cases against people they consider war criminals (like Assad or Qaddafi) and so should be treated with caution. They also frequently favor, as a class, humanitarian interventions.”

Murphy called the Caesar Report “a well-timed propaganda exercise funded by Qatar, a regime opponent who has funded rebels fighting Assad who have committed war crimes of their own.” The obvious motive for the report's release on 20 January 2014 was to influence peace talks sponsored by the UN a few days later.

Ricky Sterling, writing for Counterpunch (“Caesar photo fraud,” 4 March 2016), picks up where Murphy left off.

Sterling indicates that there must be an ulterior motive in the rigorous concealment of the alleged defector's identity. He suggests that Caesar's identity is not being concealed from the Syrian government but from skeptics, since Caesar's family was no longer in Syria, and the Syrian government could easily determine his identity anyway, if his story were true:

After all, how many military photographers took photos at Tishreen and Military Hospitals during those years and then disappeared? (R. Sterling, Counterpunch, 4 March 2016)

Sterling indicates that the photos actually tend to undermine the accusation against Assad's government that they are supposed to support.

Human Rights Watch unintentionally laid the foundation for Sterling's criticism by studying all 55,000 photos and publishing the results. In its report, If the Dead Could Speak (December 2015), HRW reported that 24,568 of the 55,000 images (46%) showed persons who definitely had not been “tortured to death” by Assad's government as claimed. Sterling explains:

“On the contrary, they show dead Syrian soldiers and victims of car bombs and other violence (HRW pp2-3). Thus, nearly half the photos show the opposite of what was alleged. These photos, never revealed to the public, confirm that the opposition is violent and has killed large numbers of Syrian security forces and civilians.”

HRW “understands” that the remainder were tortured to death, but Sterling is skeptical:

"It seems the military hospital was doing what it had always done: maintaining a photographic and documentary record of the deceased.... While some may have died in detention; the big majority probably died in the conflict zones. The accusations by ‘Caesar’, the Carter Ruck report and HRW that these are all victims of ‘death in detention' or ‘death by torture’ or death in ‘government custody’ are almost certainly false.”

In 2017, Amnesty International has augmented Caesar's collection of alleged atrocity photos with stories from alleged eyewitnesses (which, as we know from the experience of the Second World War and its aftermath, are not a trustworthy form of evidence, especially when a political agenda is involved). Amnesty International claims:

"As many as 13,000 people have been killed in Saydnaya since 2011, in utmost secrecy. Many other people at Saydnaya have been killed after being repeatedly tortured and systematically deprived of food, water, medicine and medical care. The bodies of those who are killed at Saydnaya are taken away by the truckload and buried in mass graves." (Amnesty International, "End the Horror in Syria's Torture Prisons")

When prominent Jewish journalist Michael Isikoff interviewed Assad for Yahoo News in 2017, he brought up Amnesty International's collection of witness accounts and Caesar's photos, quoting Amnesty's characterization of Saydnaya (in a report issued on 10 February 2017) as a "human slaughterhouse." Assad's response included the observation that photographs of unidentified corpses (in the midst of a war) and stories told by alleged witnesses (where a political agenda is being served) do not constitute proof of systematic killing by his government. (Yahoo News, 10 February 2017)

Holocaust Revisionists have been making that point for decades.

* * *

Thus we see that an ostensible museum on the Mall in Washington D.C. is in effect an agency of a foreign power, generating spurious credibility for propaganda designed to drag the United States into military action on behalf of the State of Israel.

We see, furthermore, that this propaganda is quite reckless and does not withstand scrutiny,  but is generally saved from scrutiny by the fact that mass media are unwilling to air such scrutiny.

There seems to be a kind of taboo against scrutinizing any atrocity story that has been likened to the Holocaust. That taboo was expressed by journalist Michael Isikoff, who has declared:

“The photos are inconvenient just as initial reports about the Holocaust were, and history does not judge well those who dismissed the latter reports.” (Policy Watch 2391, The Washington Institute, 26 March 2015)

Fortunately some of us are not so afraid of disapproval.

Additional information about this document

Author(s) Hadding Scott
Title The Holocaustian Propaganda Campaign against Bashar al-Assad, Holocaust Propaganda Deliberately Used to Cause War
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Dates published: 2017-06-30, first posted on CODOH: June 30, 2017, 10:54 p.m., last revision: n/a
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