As Israel once again commits war crimes in Gaza, perpetuating the collective punishment of a population being held under siege, why is it that so many of those in the West who express their outrage at the behavior of the Israelis, have remained largely silent for the last three years in response to the atrocities committed by the Syrian government? That silence is all the more ironic when in their effort to raise awareness about Gaza, some activists on social media are using — without correct attribution — images of civilian casualties in Syria.
The Daily Beast reports: Tens of thousands of photographs showing the Syrian government’s torture, murder, and mass starvation of civilians in custody are evidence of the kind of systematic atrocities not seen since Hitler’s Nazi regime exterminated millions during World War II, according to the State Department’s top war crimes official.
Stephen Rapp, the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for War Crimes and director of the Office of Global Criminal Justice, has reviewed large sections of a huge collection of photos and written records of Syrian government atrocities smuggled out of the country by a former military photographer known as “Caesar.” Rapp spoke about the evidence at a July 3 event at the Atlantic Council in Washington.
“This is solid evidence of the kind of machinery of cruel death that we haven’t seen frankly since the Nazis,” he said. “If it is as it appears thus far, we’re talking about more than 10,000 individuals being killed in custody over the period from 2011 to 2013, including largely men but also some very, very young men and boys and women… It’s shocking to me, as a prosecutor—I’m used to evidence not being so strong.”
Rapp’s strong condemnatioin of Assad and his call for international action to respond to Assad’s crimes against humanity comes as the Obama administration is engaged in an internal debate over how hard to actually push for regime change in Syria, given the rise of terrorism in the region.
Another former war crimes prosecutor who has reviewed some of the evidence tells The Daily Beast that he believes the photos indicate at least indirect “Russian government responsibility” for the atrocities. [Continue reading…]