Systematic killing evidence in Syria just tip of iceberg – aid agencies

Introduction — Jan 21, 2014

A photo of one of the alleged victims of the Syrian government's program of "systematic killing". Click to enlarge

One has to wonder about the timing of the appearance of this evidence. Coming on the eve of talks of talks in Switzerland over the Syrian crisis, the emergence of smuggled photos that are claimed to show “systematic killing” by government forces conveniently weighs the ethical arguments against President Assad.
It also effectively puts him on trial before a jury of international opinion. Indeed that may be the intention especially as Assad’s main regional ally, Iran, has had its invitation to attend the talks withdrawn after Western-backed opposition groups threatened to boycott in protest.
It wasn’t only Western-backed opposition groups that opposed Iranian participation, however. The U.S. was also actively engaged in persuading the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to drop his invitation to Iran, after U.S. officials demanded that Iran comply with preconditions to attend.
That demand came after Iranian officials had agreed to attend “without preconditions“.
Foremost among those preconditions was that Iran’s agreement to attend be on the premise that the talks were to pave the way for a “transitional government”; a calculated ruse that would have forced Iran to abandon President Assad.
Naturally Iran refused so the talks were in jeopardy even before they began. Added to which claims of the emergence of evidence of “systematic killing” by the Syrian government makes agreement even more difficult.
Significantly this also ignores similar crimes carried out by foreign-backed opposition groups, which the corporate media and international lawyers have conveniently forgotten about.
That’s because the Western corporate media and their allies in shaping opinion are very selective in the “evidence” they use.
So now senior War Crimes prosecutors say they have amassed documents showing the Syrian government’s culpability in “industrial scale” crimes. While they ignore the fact that Syrian opposition groups had previously tried to frame President Assad’s forces for other War Crimes.
Remember the Al Ghouta poison gas attack? Then the international media, “human rights activists” and Syrian opposition groups all accused the Syrian government forces of culpability. This was just as President Obama was trying to drum up support for direct Western military intervention in Syria and had Assad’s guilt been proved such intervention would have almost certainly transpired.
Like Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction however, it didn’t quite work out that way. Because more evidence emerged that the Al Ghouta atrocity was actually the work of Syrian opposition groups, backed by the U.S. and their allies in the Gulf.
Are reports of “systematic killing” and “industrial scale” war crimes mentioned below more of the same?

Systematic killing evidence in Syria just tip of iceberg – aid agencies

Martin Chulov — Guardian.co.uk Jan 21, 2014

The cache of evidence smuggled out of Syria showing the “systematic killing” of 11,000 detainees in Syrian jails may only be the tip of the iceberg, international aid agencies have said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, various United Nations bodies and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly complained of having next to no access to detainees and being stonewalled by Syrian authorities despite repeated requests to visit infamous detention sites, such as Sayednaya prison in Damascus.

They said Monday’s report by three eminent international lawyers that at least 11,000 victims have been killed while in detention only represents numbers in one part of the country.

“All I know after years of trying to get access is that this is likely to eventually shock the world,” one senior official from an international body told the Guardian, on condition of anonymity. “What we have seen in the [war crimes lawyers'] report broadly reflects what we have pieced together over the past few years.”

Syrian activists say an estimated 50,000 detainees remain unaccounted for. Tens of thousands of Syrians have been held in detention centres and released, often after months of deprivation and torture.

Most of the 55,000 images taken of the victims’ bodies were shot by one official photographer. Many other photographers are attached to security units elsewhere in the country and are likely to have been asked to provide visual evidence of deaths.

Each main city in Syria has several large prisons, off limits to all but elite military and security units but known to hold large numbers of detainees.

Syria has one of the most extensive state security systems in the Middle East. Before the uprising, citizens feared the pervasive reach of more than 15 agencies, which was supplemented by the eyes and ears of the Ba’ath party, whose members were well-attuned to dissent against President Bashar al-Assad and his senior officials.

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