USA considers itself as a leading expert on “human rights” while threatening to leave UNHRC

Russia rejects US-led human rights

Tue Apr 4, 2017 7:38AM
The photo shows UN Security Council in session. (Photo by AFP)
The photo shows UN Security Council in session. (Photo by AFP)

Russia has opposed a US bid to hold a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting on human rights as a major cause of global conflicts later this month during the American presidency of the 15-nation body.

On Monday, the Security Council approved April’s agenda without including the Washington-proposed debate on human rights, with Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Petr Iliichev saying the Security Council is not the venue for such discussions.

The Russian diplomat argued that “just a general statement that international peace and security are threatened by human rights violations is not true.”

He further argued that other UN bodies, including the General Assembly and the UNHRC already deal with human rights.

“Why are we taking everything to the Security Council?,” he asked. “Then those bodies should be dismantled.”

US Ambassador Nikki Haley, whose country holds the council’s rotating presidency this month, later insisted that Washington “fully expects” to hold the debate on April 18.

“If you look at the conflicts we have in the world, they always go back to the human rights issues on the ground within those countries,” Haley said.

“It will be a broad debate, not intended to single out any countries, but more just to talk about the topic and how that relates to conflict and if there are things that we can be doing going forward,” Haley further told UN member states on Monday.

US Ambassador to the United Nation Nikki Haley listens to a question during a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters on April 3, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by AFP)

Washington has accused the UN’s Geneva-based Human Rights Council (UNHRC) of being biased against the Israeli regime. The US ambassador also questioned whether the body served any value “except for this that sit on it that protect themselves.”

The development came a day after the administration of US President Donald Trumo hinted that it would not publicly criticize Egypt’s human rights record during President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi’s Monday visit to the White House.

Meanwhile, UN diplomatic sources said China has also expressed reservations over the debate, which would be the centerpiece of the US council presidency, along with a meeting on peacekeeping to be held Thursday and another one on North Korea on April 28.

When asked about the proposed meeting, China’s Permanent UN Representative Liu Jieyi said, “We are trying to work that out.”

Iliichev has also said Moscow would call for a rare procedural vote to block the move should the US fail to reach an agreement with Russia and China and presses ahead with the meeting.

A procedural vote needs nine votes for passage, and vetoes cannot be cast by Permanent council members — Russia, China, the US, France or Britain.

Washington has threatened to quit the UNHRC, while Haley stated on Thursday that her team was reviewing what the body had done well and “everything that they’ve done that’s just absurd.”

“If we don’t see changes, then yes we’ll pull out. But I think they deserve to know what we expect of them,” she added.

Saudi Aggression on Yemen: 20+ Martyred in New Massacre at Al-Hudaydah [Graphic Content]

 11-03-2017 | 10:48

Local Editor

In a new horrible massacre against Yemen, more than 20 people have been martyred in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a marketplace in the town of al-Hudaydah in Yemen. Graphic footage appears to show debris and bodies burning in the aftermath of the bombing.

According to AFP, 26 people were martyred in the airstrike.

Al-Masirah TV channel reported that 27 people were martyred and dozens wounded in the attack.

The Red Sea port of al-Hudaydah is Yemen’s fourth-largest city, with a population of around 400,000, located in the west of the country.

Riyadh and its allies have been accused of war crimes by humanitarian groups after their airstrikes hit residential areas and public gatherings on numerous occasions.

Human Rights Watch [HRW] reported in October that the Saudi coalition, “with direct military support from the US and assistance from the UK,” conducted at least 58 “unlawful airstrikes.”

In late February, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said that around 10,000 people have been martyred in the country since Saudi Arabia intervened, with 7 million people close to starvation.

According to World Health Organization figures, more than 7,400 people have been martyred, with around 1,400 of them being children.

The UN Security Council on Friday convened for a report by UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien on the humanitarian situation in a number of countries, including Yemen.

O’Brien said that, with regard to Yemen, “only a political solution will ultimately end human suffering and bring stability to the region.”

Vladimir Safronkov, Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, said that “the settlement of the conflict in Yemen lies exclusively in political realm and can be achieved only through negotiations in accordance with a balanced and mutually acceptable settlement plan.”

Ahmed Benchemsi, communications and advocacy director at Human Rights Watch [HRW], Middle East & North Africa, said that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is “increasingly unsustainable” and the urgent action must be taken by both sides in the conflict to stop the country plunging further into a “deep humanitarian catastrophe” as the situation “cannot continue like this for very long.”

“We ourselves, at Human Rights Watch, were able to document 61 apparent unlawful airstrikes, all conducted by the coalition, some of which may amount indeed to war crimes and that have killed nearly 900 civilians and have hit civilian areas, including markets, schools, hospitals and private homes,” he said.

He called on western powers, who are continuing to supply Saudi Arabia with weapons despite the damning evidence of its human rights violations in Yemen, to immediately halt deliveries.

“We clearly recommend that the United States, the United Kingdom, France and others should suspend all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia until they curtail their unlawful airstrikes in Yemen and until also a credible investigation is conducted about those violations,” the HRW representative said, adding that previous investigations conducted by the coalition do not appear to HRW to be “fair or credible.”

Benchemsi also slammed the blockade “organized by the Saudi-led coalition”.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team


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Don’t be fooled by @KenRoth, a Zionist jew, & the “White helmets” & their fake videos

Swedish Doctors for Human Rights: White Helmets Video, Macabre Manipulation of Dead Children and Staged Chemical Weapons Attack to Justify a “No-Fly Zone” in Syria

By Prof. Marcello Ferrada de Noli


An examination of a White Helmets video, conducted by Swedish medical doctors, specialists in various fields, including paediatrics, have revealed that the life-saving procedures seen in the film are incorrect – in fact life-threatening – or simply fake, including simulated emergency resuscitation techniques being used on already lifeless children.

The Alleged Sarmin Attack

There has been a recent, intense, publicity campaign that has capitalised on the Oscar for best documentary being awarded to the NATO and Gulf state funded organization, the White Helmets and their Netflix documentary producers [1] The White Helmets had previously been winners of the “Alternative Nobel Prize”, given to them in Sweden in 2016. [2] These various awards have ensured that the White Helmet fictitious “saving-childrens-lives” videos have been re-circulating across corporate and social media, a major PR coup for the sponsors of this questionable organization.

Central to this PR campaign and just prior to the Oscar award ceremony, Human Rights Watch published a “retrospective” report on February 13th 2017, focusing on spurious accounts of chemical attacks on the recently liberated city of Aleppo. This familiar HRW propaganda piece recycled a previous report from April 2015 detailing an alleged chlorine gas attack in Sarmin, Idlib [4].

Footage of the aftermath of this attack was provided, at the time, by none other than the White Helmets, which brings us to the macabre video, uploaded by this alleged first responder NGO to YouTube on March 15th 2015 [5]


Kenneth Roth’s obsessed ‘denouncing’ of unverified chlorine gas attacks, allegedly, carried out by the Syrian state against its own people

Ken Roth has waged a longstanding campaign for military intervention in Syria and the No Fly Zone, effectively a declaration of war


The “Sarmin attack” report published by HRW in April 2015 is, in itself, a remarkable feat of evidence engineering. HRW refers to two witnesses – anonymous “Sarmin residents” – stating they have “heard” helicopters “shortly before the attack”. They heard them but did not see them. Both witnesses also reported hearing “no explosions” [4] In the entire HRW report there is not one reported sighting of a helicopter, the existence of which should be an essential element of the White Helmet claims, uncritically reproduced by HRW and never questioned by the UN.

One of the key witnesses cited in the HRW, April 2015, report is a White Helmet operative by the name of Leith Fares [6]

“Leith Fares, a rescue worker with Syrian Civil Defence, told Human Rights Watch. “A helicopter always drops two barrels.” “You know, we were at first actually happy,” Fares said. “It is usually good news when there is no explosion.” [4]

A notably peculiar factor of the White Helmet footage of this alleged attack is that they do not film any external shots of the attack itself, despite their declared anticipation of being targeted, having “heard” helicopters.

Instead, the only footage is of an enclosed indoor space with no contextual filming to evidence where they are in Syria or that an attack has just taken place. The indoor environment certainly resembles a makeshift hospital emergency room. White Helmet “rescuers” parade in and out, manhandling and maneuvering the limp, lifeless bodies of three children. The naked bodies of these children have no external, visible injuries and do not respond when the various “medics” perform all manner of ostensibly “life-saving” procedures, in a haphazard effort to resuscitate these children.

“A Macabre Scene”

In order to obtain qualified clinical opinions, I sent the video to eminent Swedish medical specialists. I stressed that, particular attention, must be paid to the Syringe needle procedure (seemingly, intracardiac injection) carried out on one of the children, as seen in the screen shot from the video, below [Click on the image for the video]:

Dr Leif Elinder, a known Swedish medical doctor profile, author and specialist in paediatrics, summarised the following in his reply: [7]

“After examination of the video material, I found that the measures inflicted upon those children, some of them lifeless, are bizarre, non-medical, non-lifesaving, and even counterproductive in terms of life-saving purposes of children”.

Further, I received a detailed clinical statement from Dr Lena Oske, a Swedish medical doctor and general practitioner. In her statement, Dr Oske referred to the presumed, adrenaline injection, performed in the White Helmet video (excerpt in the photo above). Her specialist opinion dismisses the procedure conducted in the White Helmet video, as unqualified and incorrect. Furthermore, she describes the earlier assessment of the procedure by a colleague who had exclaimed:

“If not already dead, this injection would have killed the child!”

Excerpts from Dr Lena Oske’s statement to SWEDHR: [8]

Intracutaneous injection with adrenalin may be used if any other resuscitation measure does not succeed. Especially under precarious circumstances – such as in field emergency settings– where safer ways for the administration of medication (i.e. endotracheal, intravenous, or intraosseus) might be difficult or unavailable. But not in the way shown in the video”.

“In order to perform the injection, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) has to be interrupted, and then the CPR resumed immediately after. Which is not done in the procedures shown in the video.”

And referring to a correct medical procedure, the Swedish specialist MD adds:

“The technique is simple. Long needle, syringe with 1 mg adrenaline, find the 4th or 5th intercostal space and insert the needle just adjacent to the sternum, left side, deposit the medication after checking you are in the right position (aspiration of blood and no resistance), take out the needle and immediately resume CPR! So, the doctor who wrote the comment, ‘If not already dead, this injection would have killed the child’ was right! What a macabre scene; and how sad.” [8]

[Both colleagues, doctors Leif Elinder and Lena Oske, are senior members of SWEDHR, and on behalf of the SWEDHR board I fully endorse each other’s statements.]

‘White Helmets’ Associations with Nusra-Front, Al-Qaeda in Syria

It is also important to highlight that the so called White Helmets who have bestowed upon themselves, the title of Syria Civil Defence, are actually fraudulently mimicking the REAL Syria Civil Defence, established in Syria (not in Turkey) in 1953 and the only Syria Civil Defence officially recognised as such, by the (UN affiliated) International Civil Defence Organisation, based in Geneva.

This UK/US shadow state building project, in Syria, has been extensively investigated in the prominent work of independent journalist, Vanessa Beeley. [9] The authentic Syria Civil Defence serves an estimated 80 percent of the Syrian population inside Syria that lives under the protection of the Syrian state in Syrian government held territory.

Conversely, the White Helmets operate exclusively in Nusra Front and ISIS terrorist-controlled areas and therefore would service less than 20 percent of the remaining Syrian civilian population, when one takes into account the sheer numbers of foreign mercenaries and militants who also occupy those areas. Added to which, these “moderate” extremist held areas are continuously dwindling as the Syrian armed forces and their allies inexorably reconquer the national territory of Syria and release it from the grip of externally funded terrorism. As the terrorist factions are pushed out of liberated areas, such as East Aleppo, we clearly see the White Helmets depart in tandem.

Evidence of the White Helmet affiliation to the various terrorist factions is extensively documented. There are evidenced reports on one of the more prominent White Helmet leaders, Mustafa al Haj Yussef, in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib where many of the East Aleppo terrorists and their civil defence have fled.[11] These reports detail his declarations of allegiance to various extremist factions such as Ahrar Al Sham, responsible for many of the ethnic cleansing pogroms across Syria. Yussef has openly called for the shelling of civilians in Damascus during the 2014 elections. He has advocated robbery, looting and sectarian punishments and murder under certain circumstances. Imagine a Red Cross official calling for such reprisals, and you can understand how extraordinary this behaviour is for an Oscar winning, “neutral, apolitical, impartial” allegedly, humanitarian NGO.

Yusef’s affiliations and behaviour are not the exception, the majority of White Helmet operatives have demonstrated the same ideological allegiances to extremist, armed groups in Syria.

The UN Theatre of the Macabre

The final scene of this “drama” is the closed-door session at the UN Security Council, where the White Helmet video we have referred to, took centre stage at a performance by former US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power.

Predictably, the shocking scenes of children’s lifeless bodies being crudely manipulated and “arranged” combined with the theatrical and entirely ineffectual “life-saving” interventions – as depicted by the White Helmet movie – emotionally impacted upon the UN decision makers. In Samantha Power’s words:

“I saw no one in the room without tears. If there was a dry eye in the room, I didn’t see it” [12]

Unfortunately, UN officials were so distracted by the macabre performance they had just witnessed, that they did not think to ask for a translation of the various instructions being issued by the “medics” in the film. A rudimentary element of any investigation process must be to clarify context, particularly when the results have potential to precipitate a terrifying conflict escalation between the US and Russia on Syrian soil.

SWEDHR took the time to get the dialogue in the White Helmet movie translated. At 1:16 the doctor in full light green and a gray & black jumper says:

”Include in the picture (meaning in the film or the frame -translators note) the mother should be underneath and the children on top of her, hey! Make sure the mother is underneath.”

Perhaps, if the video had been subtitled, the UN officials might have queried this overt staging of an event that one must assume, was chaotic, harrowing and stressful. Perhaps, they would have found it strange, that in the midst of a “chemical weapon” attack, one of the medics, attempting to save the lives of three Syrian children, would be concerned with the positioning of their bodies for the camera.

Objective: No Fly Zone

The UNSC showing of the White Helmet footage, coincided with a universal call for a No-Fly Zone from NATO and Gulf state funded “moderate rebel” and terrorist groups, who depend upon the White Helmets for their civil defence. This international No-Fly-Zone campaign gathered momentum on the back of the UNSC tears over the White Helmet video of the alleged Sarmin chlorine gas attack, and was even supported in the Swedish media. [13]

In a later Channel 4 report on the alleged Sarmin chlorine gas attacks, during which they aired a brief, sanitized segment of the White Helmet video, Samantha Power declared:

“This document that we record now will be used at some point in a court of law, and the perpetrators of this crime need to have that in mind” [14]

In addition to calls for a No-Fly Zone and the analogous term ‘Safe Zones’, it should not be overlooked that all of the dubious and misrepresented media reporting emanating from the White Helmets is also being used to justify a continuous program of crippling US-led sanctions against Syria. According to a 2016 leaked UN internal report [15], US and EU economic sanctions on Syria are causing ‘huge suffering among ordinary Syrians’ and prohibiting the delivery of essential, humanitarian aid.


UN representatives were moved to tears by the spectacle presented to them by the White Helmets. An appropriate response, to the black art performance of the White Helmets, whose acting talents have propelled them onto Hollywood’s red carpet. In any sane world, however, the misuse, the propaganda abuse, of the children being exploited as props in a war that will inevitably kill more children, should also qualify the White Helmets for due process in a court of law and condemn their sponsors to prosecution in the European Court of Human Rights.

As for war-hawk, Samantha Power’s threats, echoed by her puppet human rights organisations, controlled by western corporate elites, I would like to mention that the war in Syria started when the US and NATO states, in unholy alliance with Gulf State tyrannies, funded, trained and armed the “moderate” extremist forces which have since invaded and terrorized the Syrian state and its people, who have steadfastly stood with their elected government against the tide of regime change propaganda and proxy military intervention.

In the final judgement, when the international court for war crimes puts the immoral warmongers on trial, they will be condemned and found guilty of abhorrent crimes against Humanity by all the decent people of this world.


[1] The nomination done by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took place January 27, 2017. The award decision was taken February 26. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) report sustaining the not-proved allegations by the White Helmets against the government of Syria was published Feb 13, 2017, right in the middle of the period between the nomination and the decision of the Oscar award to the film White Helmets.

[2] M Ferrada de Noli, “Why Is Sweden Giving the “Alternative Nobel Prize” to Syria’s ‘White Helmets’?” The Indicter Magazine, 25 November 2016.

[3] “Syria: Coordinated Chemical Attacks on Aleppo“. HRW, 13 February 2017.

[4] “Syria: Chemicals Used in Idlib Attacks”. HRW, 13 April 2015.

[5] “ الدفاع المدني ادلب_سرمين:محاولة لأنقاذ الأطفال بعد اصابتهم بالغاز الكيماوي 26_3_2015”. Uploaded by الدفاع المدني السوري في محافظة ادلب [“Syrian Civil Defence, Idlib”]. YouTube video published 16 March 2015.

[6] Leith (or Laith) Fares is repeatedly found in both Arab and Western news giving statements –from a variety of locations in Syria– to visiting Western journalists. For instance, while in the Human Rights Watch report Fares gives the notion of being present at the alleged event in Sarmin, in Arab News is given that Leith Fares is “a rescue worker in Ariha”, and that “(Fares) told AFP his team had pulled at least 20 wounded people out of the rubble.”

‘Laith Fares’ keeps also an uploading account in You Tube with anti-Syria propaganda videos, and on behalf of White Helmets political positions. [5]

Laith Fares’ YouTube account reaches 204 upload videos.

[7] Dr Leif Elinder’s email communication to the author, 4 March 2017.

[8] Dr Lena Oske’s email communication to the author, 4 March 2017.

[9] Vanessa Beeley, “The REAL Syria Civil Defence Exposes Fake ‘White Helmets’ as Terrorist-Linked Imposters“. 21st Century Wire, 23 September 2016.

[10] Vanessa Beeley, ” Syria White Helmets Hand In Hand With Al Qaeda”. YouTube, published 22 January 2017.

[11] Vanessa Beeley, ” ‘President’ Raed Saleh’s Terrorist Connections within White Helmet Leadership“. 21st Century Wire, 10 December 2016.

[12] Nick Logan, “UN officials in tears watching video from alleged chlorine attack in Syria”. Global News, 17 April 2017.

[13] See video “Sweden’s elites endorse H. Clinton No Fly Zone War with Russia & Syria”. The Indicter Channel, YouTube, published 22 November 2016.

[14] Quoted from ”UN tears over Syria chlorine attack video”. Channel 4 News. YouTube video published 17 April 2015.

[15] Patrick Cockburn, US and EU sanctions are ruining ordinary Syrians’ lives, yet Bashar al-Assad hangs on to power, The Independent (UK), October 2016.


The author wish to thank independent journalist Vanessa Beeley for invaluable feedback.

Prof-Marcello-Ferrada-de-Noli-4-Jan-2016-no-glasses-redc-Hanna-to-The_Indicter-644x634Professor Dr med Marcello Ferrada de Noli, formerly at the Karoilinska Institute and ex Research Fellow Harvard Medical School, is the founder and chairman of Swedish Professors and Doctors for Human Rights and editor-in-chief of The Indicter

Apart of research works published in scientific journals,  his op-ed articles have been published in Dagens Nyheter (DN), Svenska Dagbladet (Svd), Aftonbladet, Västerbotten Kuriren, Dagens Medicin,  Läkartidningen and other Swedish media. He also has had exclusive interviews in DN, Expressen, SvD and Aftonbladet, and in Swedish TV channels (Svt 2, TV4, TV5) as well as international TV and media (e.g. Norway, Italy TG, Cuba, Chile, DW, Sputnik, RT, Pravda, etc.).

Reachable via email at

Follow the professor on Twitter at @Professorsblogg

Apartheid Measure: «Israel» Denies HRW Staff Visas

Local Editor

The apartheid “Israeli” regime denied the new director of a prominent NGO – Human Rights Watch [HRW] – from a work permit, accusing the group of an “extreme, hostile and anti-‘Israel’ agenda.”

Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir

The “Israeli” accusations against the organization, which documents human rights abuses around the globe, follows a growth in official hostility to local human rights activists under the right wing government of “Israeli” PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

For its part, HRW condemned the move as “ominous turn” adding it “should worry anyone concerned about ‘Israel’s’ commitment to basic democratic values.”

The new policy emerged after the “Israeli” regime’s authorities turned down a visa for its new “Israel” and Palestine director, Omar Shakir who is a US citizen. The rejection had been advised by the entity’s so-called Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In a letter rejecting Shakir’s visa application, the “Israeli” entity accused the New York based group of “public activities and reports [and being] engaged in politics in the service of Palestinian propaganda, while falsely raising the banner of ‘human rights.”

The group denied the claim pointing out it had written critical reports on human rights violations on both sides.

The denial of the visa was confirmed in a letter on February 20 when “Israeli” authorities informed it the request had been rejected because HRW is “not a real human rights group”, the group said in a statement. The entity’s so-called foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon confirmed the decision.

HRW, he said, had “demonstrated time and again it is a fundamentally biased and anti-‘Israeli’ organization with a clear hostile agenda.”

But Nahshon added that the group was not banned and its Israeli and Palestinian employees would still be permitted to work in Israel and issue reports.

Suggesting a wider policy, Nahshon said other organisations such as Amnesty International would be assessed on a case by case basis.

The right-wing “Israeli” regime has been accused of putting pressure on both international and local rights organizations.

For his part, Iain Levine, deputy executive director of program at HRW condemned the move, saying: “This decision and the spurious rationale should worry anyone concerned about ‘Israel’s’ commitment to basic democratic values.”

He went on to say: “It is disappointing that the ‘Israeli’ government seems unable or unwilling to distinguish between justified criticisms of its actions and hostile political propaganda.”

The latest moves come in the midst of a wider chilling of the atmosphere in the “Israeli” entity against human rights activists.

Commenting on the decision to deny his visa Omar Shakir compared the entity to a list of authoritarian regimes.

“We have little relations with governments in North Korea, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Cuba and Venezuela where there is zero appetite for human rights engagement,” Shakir said. “With this decision, ‘Israel’ is joining the list.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team 

24-02-2017 | 12:17

Israeli Soldier Found Guilty of ‘Manslaughter’ After Execution-Style Killing of Palestinian

[ Ed. note – The Palestinian Foreign Ministry, has responded to the verdict by calling Azaria’s trial a “show trial.” ]

Ma’an News

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli military court Wednesday convicted an Israeli soldier of manslaughter for the execution-style shooting of a severely wounded Palestinian in the flashpoint area of Hebron’s Old City in the southern occupied West Bank.

Elor Azarya, now 20, was the only Israeli official to be charged with the death of a Palestinian in 2016 —when at least 111 Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces and settlers, according to Human Rights Watch.

According to rights group Yesh Din, of the 186 criminal investigations opened by the Israeli army into suspected offences against Palestinians in 2015, just four yielded indictments.

The case of Azarya and the killing of 21-year-old Abd al-Fatah al-Sharif was caught on film by Israeli NGO B’Tselem and received widespread condemnation from rights groups and the UN who condemned the incident as an “extrajudicial execution” of al-Sharif who had already been shot for allegedly attempting to stab another soldier.

 photo sharifinstreet_zpsw2nvnwqz.jpg

Ayman Odeh, member of the Israeli parliament’s Joint List political bloc — representing parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Knesset — told Ma’an Wednesday that the “main difference in this case was the presence of cameras which documented the crime thanks to B’Tselem.” The court notably ruled Wednesday that B’Tselem’s videos were authentic and admissible.

Odeh stressed that there have been hundreds of similar crimes and that “the rulers of Israel are the occupation’s criminals who produced murderers like Azarya.”

A report released this week by Human Right Watch further documented evidence that Israeli authorities have endorsed a “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinians since a wave of unrest began in October 2015, that has left 246 Palestinians and 34 Israelis killed since.

The three-judge panel handed down the sentence for the case, which was being monitored by an International Criminal Court prosecutor as a sign of credibility of Israel’s legal system.

Violent clashes reportedly broke out in front of the courtroom between Israeli police and hundreds of demonstrators who were protesting against the likely conviction, chanting: “Azarya was born free,” “the people of Israel support and salute this hero,” and “Muhammad is dead,” according to reports from social media and Israeli outlets.

 photo azariakissed_zpsrboq89fl.jpg

Amid the more than two-hour-long lead up to the final verdict’s announcement, social media reports from Israeli journalists inside the courtroom were already predicting a conviction due to the Israeli judge Maya Heller’s detailed refutation of every claim made by Azarya’s defense team.

While the defense has argued Azarya believed the immobilized man could have reached for a knife or had been concealing explosives underneath his jacket, the judge said she completely accepted prosecution’s argument that the soldier committed an unjustified revenge killing for the Palestinian’s alleged attempted attack.

Azarya’s version has been thoroughly contradicted during the duration of the trial by his commandersand experts, who stated that al-Sharif did not constitute a threat at the time of his death, and that him wearing a jacket was not suspicious given the weather that day.

The judge pointed out that the trial had already proven the knife was too far from al-Sharif’s body, who was immobile and severely wounded on the ground after already being shot, and Azarya himself had changed his story a number of times and had been evasive to cross examinations throughout the trial.

Heller reportedly addressed the defense team saying, “you can’t have it both ways,” as they have attempted to claim that al-Sharif was already dead when Azarya shot him while simultaneously arguing the soldier felt threatened.

She also noted his statement after the shooting, that the “terrorist deserves to die,” saying that it carried “serious significance,” and called the “expert testimony” of former Israeli army generals on behalf of Azarya “regrettable” and “ill-informed”.

Manslaughter charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, according to Israeli daily Haaretz. Azarya can appeal both the conviction and the sentence to the Israeli Military Appeals Court.

A court reporter for Israel’s The Jerusalem Post said that the judge’s “one-sided” conviction made the decision more vulnerable to appeal, as judges had not expressed any sympathy to the defense’s argument.

According to Haaretz, it is likely the sentence will not come close to the 20-year maximum, based on research showing precedent for Israeli soldiers who have been indicted and tried for manslaughter in a number of cases since 2000, the majority of whom were not convicted and accepted a plea bargain instead.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin may also face a request to pardon him, according to Haaretz. Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett has already stated that Azarya should be granted an immediate pardon, while Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has also reportedly not ruled out the possibility of a pardon.

A report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) outlined a number of instances when senior Israeli officials have either openly called for the extra-judicial killing of Palestinians or have failed to condemn the calls.

Sari Bashi, the Israel advocacy director at HRW said in the report that “it’s not just about potentially rogue soldiers, but also about senior Israeli officials who publicly tell security forces to unlawfully shoot to kill.”

“In some cases, officials directly responsible for the conduct of law enforcement officers have publicly encouraged them to kill rather than to arrest suspected attackers when feasible,” the report read.

Senior Israeli officials, including Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and then Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, initially called for the recognition of the Israeli military’s “rules of engagement” in the wake of al-Sharif’s killing.

However, breaking under pressure of the support for Azarya by the Israeli general public and politicians, Netanyahu later came out in support of the soldier himself and replaced Yaalon with ultra-right Lieberman as defense minister who in 2015 publicly stated his support for killing alleged Palestinian attackers, writing on his Facebook page: “No attacker, male or female, should make it out of any attack alive.”

HRW noted that Israel’s shoot to kill policy has received widespread support among Israeli citizens, citing a 2016 poll by the Israel Democracy Institute which found that 47 percent of Jewish Israelis supported the sentiment that “any Palestinian who carries out a terror attack against Jews should be killed on the spot, even if he has been captured and clearly does not pose a threat.”

Terrorists Rights Watch Purposefully Mistranslates a Leaflet to Aleppo Rebels from Syrian Government

Global Research, December 01, 2016

Rami Jarrah (who is widely cited as an authority by mainstream Western media) posted the Arabic leaflet dropped by Syrian government forces and the English translation by Human Rights Watch, which has been widely circulated.

I will provide to you my translation of the original Arabic and you judge how reliable the translation by Human Rights Watch is. [Moreover they have shortened the text of the message]

The Arabic says (in full):

“Read and Repeat.  This is the last hope.  Save yourselves.

If you don’t evacuate those areas soon, you shall be finished off (or vanquished or destroyed).

WE have provided you with a safe passage to exit.  Take your decision fast. Save yourselves.

You know that all have abandoned you and left you by yourselves to face your destiny and they won’t provide you with any help.  General Command of the army and armed forces.”

PS The word annihilation is very specific and has an equal Arabic equivalent “Ibadah” which does not appear in the original Arabic.

[The substance of the message is turned upside down in the English translation. It does not mention that the government is providing exit and safe passage to the Al Qaeda rebels.]

HRW: US Should Stop Making Excuses for Saudi Violations in Yemen

October 11, 2016


Sanaa massacre

Despite rising outrage over the bloody civilian toll in Yemen’s war, the United States administration is showing no signs of breaking with – or attempting to check – the actions of its ally Saudi Arabia, the leader of the nine-nation coalition against Yemen, a report by Human Rights Watch said.

The report refers to an article in the Washington Post this week that suggested the US is willing to rationalize Saudi responsibility for laws-of-war violations in the 19-month campaign – as well as attempting to minimize its own role in the conflict.

“Does an ally have to give you a blank check for everything you’re doing in a war?” a senior State Department official is quoted as saying.

The HRW report stated highlighted that the US has supported the Saudi-led campaign with aerial refueling and targeting assistance without criticizing Saudi Arabia and its allies for repeatedly and unlawfully bombing civilians, committing apparent war crimes.

“The nature of this support makes the US a party to the armed conflict, and potentially culpable in unlawful strikes,” it said.

“The US also continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia – more than $20-billion worth of military support and weapons in 2015 – despite increasing recognition that weapons may get unlawfully used,” it added.

The report underscored in the W. Post report that “US officials say that “errors of capability or competence, not of malice” led to repeated Saudi-led coalition strikes on civilian structures. But how do they know? There have been no serious investigations into allegedly unlawful attacks.”

“Moreover, whether Saudi targeteers were malicious or simply poorly trained does not absolve the government of responsibility. Indiscriminate attacks that fail to distinguish between civilians and military objectives as well as those that cause disproportionate loss of civilian life or property are also illegal under the laws of war,” HRW stressed.

Editor of the report, Priyanka Motaparthy , wrote that when she visited Washington this summer “to share Human Rights Watch’s findings on how the coalition has repeatedly hit civilian objects, administration officials said they believed the Saudis were just bad at targeting. This belief strains credulity. Coalition airstrikes have repeatedly struck, including with precision-guided weapons, civilian structures like medicine factories and food storage compounds, and clearly marked hospitals for which Medecins Sans Frontieres previously provided GPS coordinates. They have also repeatedly hit marketplaces during the day, when high numbers of civilians are known to be present. Lacking competence and showing insufficient regard for civilian lives or protected facilities are not mutually exclusive.”

The Washington Post article added that “military lawyers have reviewed Saudi actions and say no laws have been violated because, in their view, the civilian deaths appear to be unintentional.” But coalition pilots and operational commanders do not have to intentionally kill civilians to commit war crimes. Reckless attacks can be subject to war crimes prosecutions.

“As congressional concern with Washington’s role in Yemen increases, US officials will need to provide better answers for Saudi actions, rather than making excuses or stonewalling on the US role and how US weapons have been used. Helping a longtime ally does not let one off the hook for all responsibility in the deaths of more than 4,000 civilians, nor for shipping billions of dollars of arms that are likely to be used in the coming year’s abuses,” HRW ended up saying.

Source: Human Rights Watch

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