Caesar’s Law – Strangling Syria

By Jochen Mitschka.

In mid-June, another law imposing sanctions on the people of Syria is expected to be passed in the USA. After terrorists supported by Turkey in the west and Kurds protected by the USA in the east of the country are said to have set fire to wheat fields in order to force Syria to its knees by a famine, a further US law is to be passed in the economic war against the country. The justification, which is obvious from its name, is interesting: Caesar’s Law. Caesar was the code name of an alleged Syrian dissident who passed off photos of tens of thousands of dead as victims of “the regime”. These were supposed to be photos of alleged murders of civilians for which the country is now to be punished. It has long been known that the photos do not prove anything, but this is deliberately ignored by the government.

The Liars

We are talking about “Caesar”, the chief witness, who is always gladly brought into play, with photos of allegedly tens of thousands of torture victims of the regime. This example shows how the system of mutual confirmation of apparently independent auditors, who are all committed to the same political goal, works. And how, in the end, when the fraud becomes apparent, no one is held accountable by the distribution of responsibility. Because until today, for example, thanks to this technique, no one has had to answer for the war lies in the war against Libya.

Already in 2014 the missing seriousness of the “evidence” and the witness “Caesar” was revealed. Nevertheless, Counterpunch had to realize in 2016: “The Caesar Photo Fraud that Undermined Syrian Negotiations”, and wrote among other things:

„A team of lawyers plus digital and forensic experts were hired by the Carter-Ruck law firm, on contract to Qatar, to go to the Middle East and check the veracity of “Caesar” and his story. They concluded that “Caesar” was truthful and the photographs indicated “industrial scale killing”. CNN, London’s Guardian and LeMonde broke the story which was subsequently broadcast in news reports around the world. The Caesar photo accusations were announced as negotiations began in Switzerland. With the opposition demanding the resignation of the Syrian government, negotiations quickly broke down.“(1)

So, as the author explains, Qatar (a preferred trading partner and a welcome investor in Germany, by the way) had not only ordered and paid for the alleged “evidence”, but also for the confirmation of it.

The article points out that the story had been kept at a relatively low level for two years, but that a report entitled “If the Dead Could Speak” was then published in December 2015 by Human Rights Watch (HRW), focusing on Caesar’s accusations. The counterpunch report also draws attention to a number of serious errors. It begins with the fact that half of the photographs submitted by Caesar showed the opposite of the allegations. (Recent HRW publications mention only half the number (2) of photos). Originally 55,000 photos were submitted and described by the Carter-Ruck team as having been checked, and it was determined that half of the photos were allegedly taken by Caesar himself. However, the photos were not public. The article describes the development as follows:

„The photographs are in the custody of an opposition organization called the Syrian Association for Missing and Conscience Detainees (SAFMCD). In 2015, they allowed Human Rights Watch (HRW) to study all the photographs which have otherwise been secret […] The biggest revelation is that over 46% of the photographs (24,568) do not show people ‘tortured to death” by the Syrian government.”

In other words, only after years, when a propaganda campaign began to run at full speed, these pictures were even checked. And when it was then discovered that half of the photos demonstrably showed the opposite of what was claimed, the campaign was not ended, but continued almost unchanged.

Also the claim that the other photos would only show “tortured prisoners” is exaggerated or wrong.

In its December 2015 report, HRW states: “The largest category of photographs, 28,707 images, are photographs Human Rights Watch understands to have died in government custody, either in one of several detention facilities or after being transferred to a military hospital.” HRW estimates 6,786 dead.

The Counterpunch article denies this:

“The photos and the deceased are real, but how they died and the circumstances are unclear. There is strong evidence some died in conflict. Others died in the hospital. Others died and their bodies were decomposing before they were picked up. These photographs seem to document a war time situation where many combatants and civilians are killed. It seems the military hospital was doing what it had always done: maintaining a photographic and documentary record of the deceased. Bodies were picked up by different military or intelligence branches. 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 other words, by this time at the latest, it was clear that the claim that the pictures showed prisoners “killed by torture” or “mass executed” was based on falsified evidence. But this does not prevent HRW and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, and now the U.S. government as justification for new sanctions, from continuing to cite these photos as key “evidence” of alleged government crimes. But this was only the beginning of the questioning of facts and motives. The counterpunch article continues:

„The Carter Ruck Report says “This witness who defected from Syria and who had been working for the Syrian government was given the code-name ‘Caesar’ by the inquiry team to protect the witness and members of his family.” (CRR p12) However if his story is true, it would be easy for the Syrian government to determine who he really is. After all, how many military photographers took photos at Tishreen and Military 601 Hospitals during those years and then disappeared? According to the Carter Ruck report, Caesar’s family left Syria around the same time. Considering this, why is “Caesar” keeping his identity secret from the western audience? Why does “Caesar” refuse to meet even with highly sympathetic journalists or researchers?“

Now that the forgeries have become obvious, it should come as no surprise, however, that “Caesar’s” identity has not been made public and that even journalists who were clearly on the side of the rebels were not given access to him.

The article then points out that the Carter Ruck investigation was rushed and that it was full of mistakes and politically influenced. But its credibility was based precisely on the alleged integrity of this investigative team, which had “verified” both the photographer and the footage. The article then mentions reasons for questioning the integrity of the commission and why it was “burdened with prejudice“:

„1.  the investigation was financed by the government of Qatar which is a major supporter of the armed opposition.

2. the contracted law firm, Carter Ruck and Co, has previously represented Turkey’s President Erdogan, also known for his avid support of the armed opposition.

3. he American on the legal inquiry team, Prof David M. Crane, has a long history working for U.S. Dept of Defense and Defense Intelligence Agency. The U.S. Government has been deeply involved in the attempt at ‘regime change’ with demands that ‘Assad must go’ beginning in summer 2011 and continuing until recently.

4. Prof Crane is personally partisan in the conflict. He has campaigned for a Syrian War Crimes Tribunal and testified before Congress in October 2013, three months before the Caesar revelations.

5. by their own admission, the inquiry team was under “time constraints” (CRR, p11).

6. by their own admission, the inquiry team did not even survey most of the photographs

7. the inquiry team was either ignorant of the content or intentionally lied about the 46% showing dead Syrian soldiers and attack victims.

8. he inquiry team did their last interview with “Caesar” on January 18, quickly finalized a report and rushed it into the media on January 20, two days prior to the start of UN sponsored negotiations. “

The fact that the CIA is most likely involved is clear from an interview with France24. (3) In it, Professor David Crane of the investigation team described how “Caesar” was brought to the meeting with them by “his handler, his case officer”. The term “case officer” usually refers to an employee of the CIA. For Professor Crane, who once worked for the DIA, this was a common term. The CIA had a budget of $1 billion available in 2013 for operations in Syria against the legitimate government of that country. By the way, the project Professor Crane was working on – “Syrian Accountability Project” (SAP) – is based at the University of Syracuse, where the CIA actively recruits despite student resistance.

Now the CIA has a long history of disinformation behind it. We recall, for example, that in 2011 the Western media spread fake reports about soldiers of Libya who allegedly committed rapes under Viagra, while the USA was trying to obtain a military mandate against the country. (6)

The article also states that many photos published on the website of the SAFMCD (Syrian Association for Missing and Conscience Detainees) showed evidence of falsification. There were also duplicates and other errors in the photo catalogue. The photos were then used to produce further critical reports from outsiders who pointed out inconsistencies or manipulations. Only the “quality media” and the Heinrich Böll Foundation seemed unable to identify the contradictions and errors. In other words, the “Caesar story” resembled astonishingly the other exposed war lies that had been willingly spread by the same protagonists, such as the Nayirah testimony.

The Hypocrites

One journalist who knows the region and the political protagonists there like no other is Elijah J. Magnier. He describes in an article that the new law will further connect Syria with Iran, Russia and China, and will not lead to its collapse (4). Syria will thus finally become an important part of the resistance crescent from Yemen via Iran and Iraq to Syria and Lebanon.

He then also points out that nobody denies that the Syrian secret service had tortured, because orders for this came from the USA. And, as Magnier also points out, torture is unfortunately a common practice in many countries of the world. Especially in Israel, but also and to an excellent degree in the USA.

(translation)

“At least 54 countries (nations of the Middle East and Africa, but also Western countries such as Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and others) supported the ‘extraordinary rendition’ of the US and the secret detentions under President Barack Obama in 2001. Washington thus lacks any moral authority to use the rejection of torture as a basis for its policy. In recent decades, the United States has become notorious for allowing cruel forms of torture, depriving people of their most basic rights and generally violating human rights in violation of the Geneva Convention and, above all, the 1984 UN Convention against Torture. James Mitchell, a CIA contracted psychiatrist involved in the development and use of ‘advanced interrogation techniques’, revealed several methods approved by the US Government to torture prisoners detained illegally but with official authorisation in ‘secret locations’ outside the US. Images of torture in Abu Ghraib prisons showed the world that the US is using torture and illegal interrogation methods against prisoners in Iraq. “

Therefore, the law and these sanctions have no basis under any humanitarian considerations. If the above facts are not enough to convince you of this, you should consider how to impose such sanctions, which primarily affect the people of the country who bear no responsibility for the alleged crimes. But this is not the first case in the history of medieval US sanctions in which the death of civilians is deliberately accepted in order to achieve political goals. One only has to remember the sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s, when 500,000 children were killed (5).

Conclusion

Lying and hypocrisy, called “Realpolitik”, means that Germany is again “someone is in the world”. Presumably, the German government hopes that the sanctions will once again drive a wave of refugees into Germany, who will then not be able to elect the country’s undisputed leader, President Assad, in the next elections, which is why one can once again speak of a so-called sham vote in the West. Refugees who are instead being cited as evidence of the regime’s alleged crimes, so that they can continue to take part in the war against the country.

And within Germany’s unity party, consisting of CDU/CSU/SPD/FDP/Bündnis90-Die Grünen, some of whom are the government, others the opposition, there is little dissent about transatlantic cooperation to destroy Syria. And since AfD and Die Linke would also like to be part of it, there is less and less resistance there as well.

Of course, the comparison with the Communist Party of Vietnam is incorrect. For in Vietnam there are more and more non-party members of parliament, while in Germany it is practically impossible to obtain a parliamentary mandate without the support of one of the political parties. Similar to the single political party of Vietnam, the publicly conducted dispute between the parties on less important issues, or the dispute between different currents within the single political party of Vietnam, is very intense and is extensively covered in the media. As a Vietnamese man once explained to me in the following words when I spent a few months in the country: “We do not need a multi-party system. If the government does something that is not in our interest, then the current that dominates the government will be quickly replaced, believe me!“

Yes, I admit the comparison with Vietnam may seem exaggerated to some people. But note the tendency. There is less and less dispute in Germany about the really important issues such as NATO, armament, participation in war, shutdown or suspension of basic rights, globalization, unequal financial circumstances, unjust income levels, etc. Instead, there are vehement sham debates about financial aid for Lufthansa, while, incidentally, the employees who are made redundant shortly afterwards remain without prospects, or temporary reductions in VAT, which, incidentally, will hardly be noticeable to the normal household, but which are interesting for the buyer of a new Porsche.

But fortunately for the German politicians, the media have always managed to make mistakes and crimes of politics fall into oblivion in time for the election, and to drive the voters to the ballot boxes. As a result of which the political parties could claim to have been given the mandate for another four or five years, to proceed as usual.

Sources:

  1. Rick Sterling: »The Caesar Photo Fraud that Undermined Syrian Negotiations«, 2016, Counterpunch, online: https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/04/the-caesar-photo-fraud-that-undermined-syrian-negotiations/

  2. Human Rights Watch: »Syria: Stories Behind Photos of Killed Detainees«, 16. Dezember 2015, https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/12/16/syria-stories-behind-photos-killed-detainees
  3. France24: »The Interview, David M. Crane, Co-author of a report on Syrian prisoners«, 17. März 2014, http://www.france24.com/en/20140315-interview-da-vid-michael-crane-co-author-report-on-syrian-prisoners-torture-killing-assad-regime
  4. https://ejmagnier.com/2020/06/11/syrien-caesars-gesetz-an-wen-richtet-es-sich-und-wie-wird-es-sich-auf-prasident-assad-auswirken-1-3/
  5. https://www.un.org/Depts/oip/background/
  6. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch[Cockburn, Patrick (June 24, 2011). “Amnesty questions claim that Gaddafi ordered rape as weapon of war”. London: The Independent.] and Doctors Without Borders[Krause-Jackson, Flavia; Alexander, Caroline (Jul 6, 2011). “Rape as Weapon of War Is UN Focus”. Bloomberg.] did not find first-hand evidence that mass rapes had occurred. Patrick Cockburn expressed concern that misleading reports of rapes by Libyan government forces were used to justify the NATO-led 2011 military intervention in Libya.[ Cockburn, Patrick (June 24, 2011). “Amnesty questions claim that Gaddafi ordered rape as weapon of war”. London: The Independent.] In June 2011, the UN investigator M. Cherif Bassiouni did not find evidence of mass rapes.[ “Libya rape claims ‘hysteria’ – investigator”. Herald Sun. June 10, 2011.]

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Thanks to the author for the right to publish.

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Image source: mohammad alzain / shutterstock

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