World View: Western Leaders Sickened by Assad's 'Industrial Strength' Torture in Syria
- Suicide bombing in Hezbollah stronghold in Lebanon kills four
- Putin's anti-gay campaign a high-risk appeal to Russia's 'traditional values'
- Western leaders sickened by Assad's 'industrial strength' torture in Syria
- Syria report shows Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin guilty of war crimes
Suicide bombing in Hezbollah stronghold in Lebanon kills four
The aftermath of Tuesday's bombing in Beirut, Lebanon (AP)
A suspected suicide bombing on Tuesday killed at least four people and
wounded dozens of others in a Hezbollah stronghold south of Beirut,
Lebanon's capital city. The auto was a Kia Sportage that had
apparently been stolen for just this purpose. The Lebanon branch of
the Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front), a Syria-based Sunni terrorist
group fighting Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime, claimed responsibility
for the bombing. According to one eye-witness,
"We saw a car that was speeding. The driver was
honking like a mad man. Seconds later, we saw the explosion which
sent the vehicle flying up in the air."
A year ago, it would have been unthinkable that a terrorist bombing
could occur in the heart of Hezbollah's stronghold in Beirut. The
Hezbollah terrorist militia was too powerful, and their headquarters
region was too well guarded and protected.
But that was before April 30, when Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan
Nasrallah gave a televised speech saying that Hezbollah would
militarily enter the fight in Syria on the side of the regime of
Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. Nasrallah reluctantly agreed to
enter the Syrian war after being commanded to do so by his Iranian
masters. ( "27-Sep-13 World View -- How Hezbollah's reluctant foray into Syria changed the Mideast") Al-Assad is a Shia/Alawite, conducting sectarian
violence against Sunnis, while Hezbollah is a Shia organization under
the control of a Shia country, Iran.
Since then, there have been half a dozen car bombings in the
Hezbollah-controlled region of Beirut, starting with a July 9 car bombing. Tuesday's bombing is the
second one to occur in this month alone. Daily Star (Beirut) and Foreign Policy
Putin's anti-gay campaign a high-risk appeal to Russia's 'traditional values'
Russia's president Vladimir Putin has made international news recently
for his bizarre statements in response to questions about gay people
attending the Sochi Olympics. On the one hand, he smiles warmly and
says that they're all welcome and there will be no discrimination
against them. But then he adds, "But stay away from the kids!"
The strategy behind this campaign is to overcome the problems with a
more standard appeal to Russian nationalism, which could lead to
violence and threaten his power, as illustrated by the recent and
repeated extremely xenophobic violence between ethnic Russians and
Russian citizens from the North Caucasus (Russia's southern
Putin, who has been losing popularity, is appealing instead to
something a little different: the defense of "traditional values," a
loosely defined mixture of ideas, including opposition to secularism,
homosexuality, and gender equality; support for hierarchical power
relations; deference to authority; and social discipline. More
interesting is the fact that he feels that people abroad who share his
distaste for the extension of rights to formerly excluded groups like
gays will look to Moscow as a defender of their values and thus help
the Russian government bring pressure on their countries.
result, he's received expressions of support from some of the more
well-known far-right politicians in Europe, including Marie le Pen of
France, anti-immigrant activist Geert Wilders of the Netherlands,
British National Party leader (and Holocaust denier) Nick Griffin, and
Mateusz Piskorski, an openly anti-Semitic leader of Poland’s populist
agrarian and nationalist Samoobrona (Self-Defense) party.
However, this approach to "traditional values" could harm his
reputation as a modernizer and may cause many Russian nationalists
inside Russia to view Putin’s cooperation with such radicals in the
West as a signal that they are free to push similar ideas, a step that
could trigger more violence there. Jamestown/Paul Goble
Western leaders sickened by Assad's 'industrial strength' torture in Syria
Emaciated man showing wounds from repeated beatings by rod-like object. There are 55,000 photos like this, showing 11,000 corpses
Western officials are reacting with "horror" at a new report that
details how officials in the regime of Syria's president Bashar
al-Assad used electrocution, eye-gouging, strangulation, starvation,
and beating on prisoners on a massive "industrial strength" scale.
The report is backed up by 55,000 photos showing about 11,000 men
exhibiting these signs of torture. They were similar to the images
found in Nazi death camps after World War II and show that al-Assad
is guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The report was prepared by three top war crimes prosecutors. The
prosecutors spent several days with a defector who had been a military
photographer in the al-Assad regime for 12 years and whose job had
been to photograph these corpses after they had been tortured and
killed. Al-Assad had demanded photographs of the dead corpses out of
distrust of his own officials so that he would have proof that the
killings had actually taken place.
And this was only the tip of the iceberg, as these 55,000 photos came
from just one location out of many where such torture took
place. This one photographer photographed almost 20 bodies every day,
suggesting that there was "torture for pleasure" on a massive scale.
A Syrian spokesman asked to respond didn't actually deny that the
torture had taken place, but he questioned the source of the photos and claimed that Qatar, which had provided the funding for the report,
was also guilty of war crimes.
A Russian spokesman asked to respond didn't actually deny that the
torture had taken place, but he said that things like that always
happen in a civil war and suggested that the entire matter be
turned over to the United Nations Security Council, presumably so that
the Russians could use their veto power to bury it.
As I've said in the past, Bashar al-Assad is the greatest genocidal
monster in today's world, comparable to Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin.
Al-Assad is literally killing thousands of Syrian civilians every week
with complete impunity, using Russian-supplied barrel bombs on
civilian neighborhoods. And he's used sarin chemical weapons on
civilians. There is no weapon of mass destruction, nor any gruesome
form of torture, to satisfy his psychopathy. This shows that al-Assad
uses the most gruesome forms of torture on a personal, individual
scale, as well as on a mass scale. And the Obama administration is
indirectly supporting al-Assad through Russia. BBC and
CNN and Full Report (PDF)
Syria report shows Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin guilty of war crimes
The Syria report shows that Bashar al-Assad is guilty of war crimes.
But the same report also shows that Russia's president Vladimir
Putin is also guilty of war crimes.
This is because in 2012 a United Nations war crimes tribunal
convicted Liberia's former president Charles Taylor of war crimes conducted in the war in neighboring
Sierra Leone. The prosecutor was unable to prove that Taylor himself
had ordered the war crimes--genocide, rape, torture, etc. But the
prosecutor did prove that Taylor had sold weapons to rebels who
committed the war crimes, thus making Taylor guilty of war crimes
Based on that 2012 decision, the new Syria report clearly implicates
Vladimir Putin as a war criminal. He didn't order the genocide and
torture conducted by the Bashar al-Assad regime, but he's provided
unlimited supplies of weapons to carry out that genocide and torture,
and he's very well aware of how those weapons are being used.
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Lebanon, Beirut, Hezbollah,
Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Nusra Front, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah,
Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Iran,
Russia, Vladimir Putin, Charles Taylor
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