Amnesty International Stokes Syrian War

The West’s vast propaganda machine has pulled in many formerly respectable groups, such as Amnesty International, which just released a dubious “human rights” report aimed at stoking the war in Syria, reports Rick Sterling.

By Rick Sterling

Amnesty International (AI) has done some good investigations and reports over the years, which has won the group widespread support. However, less well recognized, Amnesty International has also carried out faulty investigations with bloody and disastrous consequences.

U.S.-backed Syrian “moderate” rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video]

One prominent example is in Iraq, where AI “corroborated” the false story that Iraqi soldiers were stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. The deception was planned and carried out in Washington to influence the U.S. public and Congress.

A more recent example is from 2011 where false accusations were being made about Libya and Muammar Gaddafi as Western and Gulf powers sought to overthrow his government. AI leaders joined the campaign claiming that Gaddafi was using “mercenaries” to threaten and kill peacefully protesting civilians. The propaganda was successful in muting criticism of what became an invasion and “regime change.”

Going far beyond a United Nations Security Council resolution to “protect civilians,” NATO launched sustained air attacks and toppled the Libyan government leading to chaos, violence and a flood of refugees. AI later refuted the “mercenary” accusations but the damage was done.

Now, on Feb. 7, Amnesty International released a new report titled “Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison,” which accuses the Syrian government of executing thousands of political prisoners, a set of accusations that has received uncritical treatment in the mainstream news media.

Like the Iraq/Kuwait incubator story and the Libyan “mercenary” story, the “Human Slaughterhouse” report is coming at a critical time. It accuses and convicts the Syrian government of horrible atrocities against civilians – and AI explicitly calls for the international community to take “action.” But the AI report is deeply biased and amounts to a kangaroo-court conviction of the Syrian government.

AI’s Standards Ignored

The Amnesty International report violates the organization’s own research standards. As documented by Professor Tim Hayward here, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, claims that Amnesty does its research in a very systematic, primary, way where we collect evidence with our own staff on the ground. And every aspect of our data collection is based on corroboration and cross-checking from all parties, even if there are, you know, many parties in any situation because of all of the issues we deal with are quite contested. So it’s very important to get different points of view and constantly cross check and verify the facts.”

A heart-rending propaganda image designed to justify a major U.S. military operation inside Syria against the Syrian military.

But the Amnesty report fails on all counts: it relies on third parties, it did not gather its information from different points of view, and it did not cross-check with all parties. The report’s conclusions are not based on primary sources, material evidence or AI’s own staff; the findings are solely based on the claims of anonymous individuals, mostly in southern Turkey from where the war on Syria is coordinated.

Amnesty gathered witnesses and testimonies from only one side of the conflict: the Western- and Gulf-supported opposition. For example, AI consulted with the Syrian Network for Human Rights, which is known to seek NATO intervention in Syria. AI “liased” with the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, an organization funded by the West to press criminal charges against the Syrian leadership. These are obviously not neutral, independent or nonpartisan organizations.

If AI were doing what its Secretary General claims the organization always does, AI would have consulted with organizations within or outside Syria to hear different accounts of life at Saydnaya Prison. Since the AI report has been released, the AngryArab has published the account of a Syrian dissident, Nizar Nayyouf, who was imprisoned at Saydnaya. He contradicts many statements in the Amnesty International report, the type of cross-checking that AI failed to do for this important study.

Amnesty’s accusation that executions were “extrajudicial” is exaggerated or false. By Amnesty’s own description, each prisoner appeared briefly before a judge and each execution was authorized by a high government leader. We do not know if the judge looked at documentation or other information regarding each prisoner. One could argue that the process as described was superficial, but it’s clear that even if AI’s allegations are true, there was some kind of judicial process.

Amnesty’s suggestion that all Saydnaya prisoners are convicted is false. Amnesty quotes one witness who says about the court: “The judge will ask the name of the detainee and whether he committed the crime. Whether the answer is yes or no, he will be convicted.” But this assertion is contradicted by a former Saydnaya prisoner who is now a refugee in Sweden. In this news report, the former prisoner says the judge “asked him how many soldiers he had killed. When he said none, the judge spared him.” This is evidence that there is a judicial process of some sort and there are acquittals.

The Amnesty report includes satellite photographs with captions which are meaningless or erroneous. For example, as pointed out by Syrian dissident Nizar Nayyouf, the photo on page 30 showing a Martyrs Cemetery is “silly beyond silly.” The photo and caption show that the cemetery doubled in size. However, this does not prove hangings of prisoners who would never be buried in a “martyrs cemetery” reserved for Syrian army soldiers. On the contrary, it confirms the fact which Amnesty International otherwise ignores: Syrian soldiers have died in large numbers.

The Amnesty report falsely claims — based on data provided by one of the groups seeking NATO intervention — “The victims are overwhelmingly ordinary civilians who are thought to oppose the government.” While it’s surely true that innocent civilians are sometimes wrongly arrested, as happens in all countries, the suggestion that Saydnaya prison is filled with 95 percent “ordinary civilians” is preposterous. Amnesty International can only make this claim without facing ridicule because AI and other Western organizations have effectively “disappeared” the reality of Syria.

Missing Facts

Other essential facts, which are completely missing from the Amnesty report, include:

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

–Western powers and Gulf monarchies have spent billions of dollars annually since 2011 to recruit, fund, train, arm and support with sophisticated propaganda a violent campaign to overthrow the Syrian government;

–As part of this operation, tens of thousands of foreign fanatics have invaded Syria and tens of thousands of Syrians have been radicalized and paid by Wahhabi monarchies in the Gulf to overthrow the government;

–More than 100,000 Syrian Army and National Defense soldiers have been killed defending their country. Most of this is public information yet ignored by Amnesty International and other mainstream media in the West. This “regime change” operation has been accompanied by a massive distortion and cover-up of reality.

–Without providing evidence, Amnesty International accuses the highest Sunni religious leader in Syria, Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, of authorizing the execution of “ordinary civilians.” While the Grand Mufti is a personal victim of the war’s violence – his son was murdered by terrorists near Aleppo – he has consistently called for reconciliation. Following the assassination of his son, Grand Mufti Hassoun gave an eloquent speech expressing forgiveness for the murderers and calling for an end to the violence.

What does it say about Amnesty International that it makes specific personal accusations, against people who have personally suffered, yet provides no evidence of guilt?

In the report, Amnesty uses sensational and emotional accusations in place of factual evidence. The title of the report is “Human Slaughterhouse.” And what goes with a “slaughterhouse”? A “meat fridge.” So, the report uses the expression “meat fridge” seven separate times, presumably in an attempt to strengthen the central metaphor of a slaughterhouse.

Even the report’s opening quotation is hyperbolic: “Saydnaya is the end of life – the end of humanity.” The report is in sharp contrast with fact-based objective research and investigation; it appears designed to manipulate emotions and thus create new public support in the West for another escalation of the war.

Yet, Amnesty International’s accusations that the Syrian government is carrying out a policy of “extermination” are contradicted by the fact that the vast majority of Syrians prefer to live in government-controlled areas. When the “rebels” were finally driven out of East Aleppo in December 2016, 90 percent of civilians rushed into areas under government control.

In recent days, civilians from Latakia province who had been imprisoned by terrorists for the past three years have been liberated in a prisoner exchange. [This video shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife meeting with some of the civilians.]

A Video

The Amnesty report is accompanied by a three-minute propaganda cartoon that reinforces the narrative that Syrian civilians who protest peacefully are imprisoned and executed. Echoing the theme of the report, the animation is titled “Saydnaya Prison: Human Slaughterhouse.” Amnesty International appears to be in denial that there are tens of thousands of violent extremists in Syria, setting off car bombs, launching mortars and otherwise attacking civilian areas every day.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative in August 2014 somewhere in Syria.

Given the national crisis – with so many violent jihadists to confront – it makes little sense that Syrian security or prison authorities would waste resources on non-violent civilians although that does not mean that the Syrian government has clean hands either. Mistakes and abuses surely happen in this war like all wars.

But the AI report is more like the propaganda that has surrounded the Syrian conflict from the beginning, lacking in balance and reminiscent of the “perception management” used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the West’s assault on Libya in 2011. AI’s hyperbole is also contradicted by the fact that Syria has many opposition parties that compete for seats in the National Assembly and campaign openly for public support from both the right and left of the Baath Party.

AI’s claim that Syrian authorities brutally repress peaceful protests further ignores the Syrian reconciliation process. For the past several years, armed opposition militants have been encouraged to lay down their weapons and peacefully rejoin society, a program largely unreported in Western media because it contradicts the “black hat” narrative of the Syrian government. [A recent example is reported here.]

The Amnesty report cites the “Caesar” photographs as supporting evidence for its “slaughterhouse” accusations but ignores the fact that nearly half those photographs show the opposite of what was claimed. The widely publicized “Caesar photographs” was a Qatari-funded hoax designed to sabotage the 2014 Geneva negotiations as documented here.

While the Amnesty report makes many accusations against the Syrian government, AI ignores the violation of Syrian sovereignty being committed by Western and Gulf countries. It is a curious fact that big NGOs such as Amnesty International focus on violations of “human rights law” and “humanitarian law” but ignore the crime of aggression, also called the crime against peace.

According to the Nuremberg Tribunal, aggression is “the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister and former President of the U.N. General Assembly, Father Miguel D’Escoto, is someone who should know. He says, “What the U.S. government is doing in Syria is tantamount to a war of aggression, which, according to the Nuremberg Tribunal, is the worst possible crime a State can commit against another State.” Amnesty International ignores this reality.

Background and Context

The co-author of this Amnesty International report is Nicolette Waldman (Boehland), who was uncritically interviewed on DemocracyNow on Feb. 9. The background and previous work of Waldman shows the inter-connections between influential Washington “think tanks” and the billionaires’ foundations that fund “non-governmental organizations” – NGOs – that claim to be independent but are clearly not.

Waldman previously worked for the “Center for Civilians in Conflict,” which is directed by leaders from George Soros’s Open Society, the Soros-funded Human Rights Watch, Blackrock Solutions and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

Billionaire currency speculator George Soros. (Photo credit:

CNAS may be the most significant indication of political orientation since it is led by Michele Flournoy, who was expected to become Secretary of Defense if Hillary Clinton had won the election. CNAS has been a leading force behind neoconservative and liberal-interventionist plans to escalate the war in Syria. While past work or associations do not always define new or future work, in this case the sensational and dubious accusations seem to align with those political goals. [Soros’s Open Society has also provided funds to Amnesty International.]

So what to make of Amnesty International’s new report? The once widely respected human rights organization has, in the recent past, let itself be used as a propaganda tool to justify Western aggression against Iraq and Libya, which seems to be the role that AI is playing now in Syria.

The Amnesty International report is a mix of hearsay accusations and sensationalism that tracks with the Western propaganda themes that have surrounded the Syrian war from the start. Because of Amnesty’s undeserved reputation for independence and accuracy, the report has been picked up and broadcast widely. Liberal and supposedly progressive media outlets have joined in dutifully echoing the questionable accusations.

Little or no skepticism is applied when the target is the Syrian government, which has faced years of foreign-sponsored aggression. If this report justifies another escalation of the conflict, as Amnesty International seems to want, the group will again be serving as a rationalizer for Western aggression against Syria, just like it did in Iraq and Libya.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He can be reached at [email protected]

55 comments for “Amnesty International Stokes Syrian War

  1. Paul G.
    February 15, 2017 at 16:22

    Recall that several years ago Susan Nossel was appointed director of AI US, lasting only a year. She was most infamous for inviting Madelaine Albright to speak at a national AI convention- you know the 100,000 dead Iraqi children were “worth it” former SOSUS monster. Nossel had previously been a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. That’s when I knew AI had been compromised. Nossel is also a Israel apologist.

  2. February 14, 2017 at 14:24

    Unfortunately, now that the Deep State “collects it all” – as per the fall of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn who was the victim of “routine wiretaps” – those in any influential position, including NGO Human Rights groups, can be strategically blackmailed or destroyed, to do the Deep State’s work.

  3. Steve Abbott
    February 14, 2017 at 05:14

    I have not forgotten Amnesty’s complicity in incitement of the 1991 gulf war or the 2011 destruction of Libya. I discussed those negligent or malign reports with my two elderly aunts, who had faithfully supported Amnesty for decades. How sad it would have been if those two dear ladies had lived to see this further betrayal of thier trust.

  4. Kalen
    February 13, 2017 at 20:53

    If anyone was tortured in Syria it was done definitely in CIA black sites before 2011 as Orwellian MSM spawn wants us to forget.

    If Assad regime did it, it was done to foreign terrorists from Al-Qaeda and ISIL also via methods learned from CIA before they have been lawfully executed (as US law provides death penalty for rebellion offense) since the Assad amnesty applies only to Syrian citizen who took up arms against lawful regime and were conducted via so called local reconciliation committees after they admit to join the rebels and apologize for destruction of the country.

    Assad amnesty, that is a cornerstone of his so-far success and survival, not Russian intervention still allows civil proceedings against specific former rebels by family members for restitution of property and monetary support while no criminal charges can be leveled.

    Is this all hype provoked by phony Amnesty International hearsay report?

  5. February 13, 2017 at 14:41

    Amnesty and Human Rights Watch receive money from foundations allied with State Department, including AI having previous Exec Director Suzanne Nossel coming directly from State Dept to AI, and Democracy Now has received Soros money. Right now the Deep State is working full tilt through corporate media to restart the Syrian war since on their “To Do” regime change list they were unsuccessful because of Russia. They obviously want to pull Trump into their relaunch and include Iran and Russia besides.

    I doubt Trump would consider Robert Steele’s propositions on those radical moves he should make, he may soon realize he’s in over his head as to what he promised to accomplish. Multiple forces are working against him, including Obama, who has said that he conveniently will be living in DC because of his daughter’s schooling, and so he plans to monitor Trump’s moves, obviously whenever Trump steps out of line with the Deep State.

    • Lois Gagnon
      February 13, 2017 at 19:03

      Exactly right. It is distressing to watch self professed progressives fall for this whole charade hook, line and sinker.

  6. Vollin
    February 13, 2017 at 13:35

    Would not surprise me if AI has been infiltrated by the CIA

  7. exiled off mainstreet
    February 13, 2017 at 12:12

    The picture of Soros is the key point in the article, which documents the fraud Amnesty International has become. As a war-mongering adjunct to the yankee power structure, this organization has been inimical to human rights for a couple of decades now. It is interesting also that the ACLU is publishing trash from Islamo-fascists like Khizr Khan. This hostile takeover seriously threatens any and all efforts to remediate the western power structure and eliminates meaningful reform as an option.

  8. mohsen
    February 13, 2017 at 00:32

    Great article. Now we know George Soros motivation for creating another neocon billionaires.

  9. backwardsevolution
    February 12, 2017 at 19:56

    Rick Sterling – you have written an excellent article here! Thank you. I thought your “Caesar photo fraud” article was excellent as well.

    As someone said above, organizations who used to be independent are now taking funds from the very people who are now controlling the media and politicians as well. Something always gives when that happens, and I guess that something is the truth. Is it that there are just too many charities and NGO’s out there vying for too few dollars? Are they being forced to take this money in order to stay alive, or are they taking the money in order to pad their own salaries? Have they been recruited, won over as far as ideology, or bought? Which is it?

    I looked up Shalil Shetty (at least on Wiki). It says he has received 210,000 pounds per year since July, 2010 for his role as Secretary General of Amnesty International, and he’s got a degree from the London School of Economics. I had a relative who worked for a company soliciting funds for Amnesty International. A lot of lucrative salaries go to these corporations who solicit money for charities, nice high-end offices. Whole new business empires have been built up around these charities.

    I told my relative that it’s great that AI points out the bad that’s going on, but what I don’t like is that you never – ever – hear what’s causing the bad. They ask people for donations (oftentimes money people don’t have to spare), tell them a big sob story, but never explain who is causing the problems. It would certainly change a lot of people’s minds if they heard this, for instance: “We ask you for a donation. Your own western government is trying to overthrow Assad (or whoever). They have trained, armed and funded a proxy army (ISIS and Al-Qaeda) to do this for them. Unfortunately, a lot of people are being killed, and your tax dollars are paying for this slaughter. How about a donation?”

    I would think, if they were asking me, I’d turn around and say, “So you want me to give you a donation so that you can take a cut, hand over the rest of the money to Amnesty International, and then AI can then turn around and tell the world one-half of the story?” I don’t think so. If they spelled out the real truth to people, they’d be flooded with donations, but they don’t. Sounds like the MSM, doesn’t it? How are they any different?

  10. Rob Roy
    February 12, 2017 at 18:34

    I commented earlier. Why was it not posted? Thanks for a reply. RR

    • Zachary Smith
      February 12, 2017 at 22:58

      I can only suggest that they’re working on the forum software and haven’t quite got it right – yet. Yesterday my post was delayed for about 18 hours before it finally showed up even though the thing was short, bland, and didn’t even have a link!

  11. Brendan
    February 12, 2017 at 16:44

    It’s no surprise that Amnesty International also joined in the hysteria about Aleppo a couple of months ago. The true story was of a relatively peaceful and orderly liberation of East Aleppo from years of occupation by Islamist extremists, but of course AI presented this as a war crime that should be stopped.

  12. Brendan
    February 12, 2017 at 16:41

    The most glaring pro-western militaristic propaganda that Amnesty has produced was possibly the advertising poster in 2012 about “Human Rights for Women and Girls in Afghanistan”. It displayed the caption “NATO: Keep the Progress Going!”.

    When I first saw that, I thought it was an ironic comment about all the Afghan women and girls that were killed and injured by Nato bombs. But the poster really did mean what it said.

    Amnesty’s Director of Policy tried to argue that the aim of the poster was not to praise NATO. That’s a very strange argument, when the clear message was that the NATO military alliance created progress for females in Afghanistan and that this should be continued.

  13. February 12, 2017 at 15:08

    By: Juan Reynoso, WTP – activist – [email protected] STAND FOR AMERICA
    Americas must realize that self-scrutiny is not treason. Self-examination is not disloyalty.
    We the people, must stop the Washington establishment and the Neocon warmongers.
    The Middle East wars is the Longest and most expensive war In U.S. History. This war cost over 9 trillion Dollars and the only ones that benefit from this war is the military industrial complex. We have lost this war; it is time to end this human and economic catastrophe.
    Lies and deception it is not going to change the truth. We the people voted for Donald Trump because he promised to drain the swamp; “the Washington corrupt establishment”, the war mongers that commit crimes against humanity and dishonor and disgrace our country; these criminals brought shamed to our country. In the eyes of the world community; we are a country without shame.
    Fellow Americans we can’t continue being in complete denial of the truth; we must take the responsibility to commit to expose and prosecute the war criminals and bring this Middle East illegal war to an end. The killing of our soldiers and the people of the Middle East must end, this genocide and the destruction of the Middle East is the worse criminal act by man driven by control and greed against the people of the Middle east. We are so stupid that we can understand that is this violence against man that created the so call terrorist. To me is simple and rational behavior; if someone is destroying my home I will retaliate and pay them back the same way or worse. We create this catastrophe and genocide; it is time to seek justice for humanity and prosecute all the war criminals. True and justice will bring peace in the world. Please send letter to president Trump and the world court-Hague. Peace will come when we get justice for humanity and send a message to all countries that illegal wars, wars that are the result of lies and deception, the actors will be prosecuted and bringing to justice. We must set an example to the world community and stop being a country without a shame.

    • Bush Convicted of War Crimes in Absentia | Foreign Policy Journal

    • War Crimes Tribunal Finds Bush and Blair Guilty | Global Research …

    • George W. Bush ‘War Crimes’ Trial Begins In California Court

    • Are George W. Bush, Dick Cheney unable to visit Europe due to …
    • Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission – Wikipedia

    • George W. Bush and Dick Cheney Found Guilty of War Crimes

    • How Should We Deal With War Criminals? – FPIF

    • Bush and cronies found guilty of war crimes | Yvonne Ridley

    • Bush to the Hague
    Learn the truth about Bush the war criminal.

    • Bush War Crimes – The Huffington Post

    • War Tribunal Finds Bush, Cheney Guilty of War Crimes | Common …

    • Kuala Lumpur tribunal: Bush and Blair guilty – Al Jazeera English
    • George W. Bush May Stand Trial For War Crimes In Iraq – True Activist

    • Ex-Bush intel man: President, Cheney, Rumsfeld guilty of war crimes …

    Bush Convicted of War Crimes at Tribunal – The Real News

    • Bush, Blair found guilty of war crimes in Malaysia tribunal/ Judgment …

    • UN Could Prosecute Bush for War Crimes, Says Ex-U.S. Terror Czar

    • Why an Iraqi Single Mom Is Suing George W. Bush for War Crimes …

    • US army and CIA may be guilty of war crimes in Afghanistan, says …

    Dennis Kucinich’s Extraordinary Warning On Washington’s Think Tank Warmongers

    • Herman
      February 14, 2017 at 13:51

      Juan, your documentation is impressive. It has been imprinted in our minds that only losers can be war criminals. If the Iraq War had been rightly condemned by a court with jurisdiction and the persons who perpetrated that war were prosecuted including the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Britain, and gruesome as it may sound, hanged for their offenses, there might be hope of preventing future adventures. When there is no price to pay, in fact the opposite, little can change.

  14. Gemma
    February 12, 2017 at 14:06

    this is a frightening new report but what can be done to stop this or other similar stories hitting the headlines?

  15. Herman
    February 12, 2017 at 09:52

    Drew Hunkins, I remember the Gaza report as you described it. My impression is very similar to yours and to Sterling’s. And the report will be used in an attempt to re-energize the “Assad must go” putsch. And the propaganda is relentless. In a recent report of an interview of Assad by a Yahoo reporter, Isikoff, the reporter asked if Assad would step down. He said he would if the people of Syria wanted him out. The report of the interview referenced the earlier election in 2014 in which Assad received overwhelming support. The report then referred to the election as a farce which of course was a lie since the worst we could say about the election is that it was no more farcical than our own.

    I was surprised that the report of Assad’s answer to that question aired and I doubt it will receive much attention since it destroys the whole premise of his enemies, that he was ruling as a dictator without the support of the people. Of course his enemies including us knew that all along but chose to construct the enabling lie that Assad was hanging onto control by violence, that the true voice of the people was silenced.

    Of course, this is partially true, he has used violence to attack his enemies, but his enemies were also the enemies of the Syrian people. It is easy to accept that violence against your own citizens is always bad, but it flies in the face of logic when it is a response to the violence threatens the majority of the citizens.

    As to the Syrian government’s treatment of prisoners and combatants, it is probably true that they are treated harshly. This is to be expected when violence is the norm in achieving and maintaining power. The history of the Assad’s and the Baath Party has been one of being challenged by sectarian forces who want to destroy the secular government.

    Of course, to America, Israel and Sunni extremists all this is irrelevant. The people of Syrian mean little or nothing to them, that Syria stands opposed to them does.

    Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, Assad is the people’s choice.

    • backwardsevolution
      February 12, 2017 at 17:31

      Herman – that was a really good post.

    February 12, 2017 at 08:44

    Rick Sterling,

    Your report is thorough and demands recognition. I rarely post an article from on Facebook, but I am posting yours. Thank you for such a detailed and fascinating essay. Your evidence showing that the AI report is bullshit is clear and straightforward:

    “Since the AI report has been released, the AngryArab has published the account of a Syrian dissident, Nizar Nayyouf, who was imprisoned at Saydnaya. He contradicts many statements in the Amnesty International report, the type of cross-checking that AI failed to do for this important study.”

    “The co-author of this Amnesty International report is Nicolette Waldman (Boehland), who was uncritically interviewed on DemocracyNow on Feb. 9.” I was not surprised to read that “Democracy Now” had this propagandist on its show—a once “decent” and “progressive” radio station has become a government lap dog.

    Thanks for a great unmasking of the once “legitimate” Amnesty International.


    Dr. Bart Gruzalski, Professor Emeritus Philosophy and Public Policy, Northeastern University, Boston, MA

  17. GMC
    February 12, 2017 at 06:15

    Shamnesty – another tool in order to keep the Truth away from the World. – We come in Peace– Suckers !

  18. Josh Stern
    February 12, 2017 at 05:30

    Rick Sterling’s piece is by far the best analysis on this topic I have seen. It gets to the core of all the factual issues and disputes and puts them in context. Nice job.

  19. James Charles
    February 12, 2017 at 05:10


    13 min in, is an interview with a representative from A.I..

  20. February 12, 2017 at 02:45

    This is outstanding reporting and analysis by Rick Sterling in the best tradition of world public interest journalism. Syria, like Iraq and Libya, are victims of the “regime change” plot launched by US/Israeli war mongers. Unfortunately for the the world community, the leaders responsible for these world crimes of aggression are above the law. The UN, desperately in need of a new Charter, lacks the tools for enforceable world law despite the availability of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.

      February 12, 2017 at 08:45


  21. Monty A
    February 12, 2017 at 01:33

    The ear witness reported hearing the freshly hanged by the neck making gurgling noises. Really?

  22. Joe J Tedesky
    February 12, 2017 at 01:14

    With all due respect to Rick Sterling’s reporting here, I find it so sad that most Americans will never read a word of what you all have just read here. Most Americans have no idea of what an NGO is. Our gerrymandered American society draws a blank on what’s really and honestly happening in the Middle East, but the U.S. Citizens do demand and they impatiently expect our always at war government to keep them safe. We the people are scared here, and that you Mr President must keep us safe no matter what or how many Muslims must die in order for you Mr President to do it, so get it done. It doesn’t matter to who the real bad guys are, but what does matter is that we supply our bad guys with enough of weapons as to have our bad guys beat the headchoping ISIS or whoever, and that you know Mr President that you have a mandate from us to keep us all safe in our American beds….ah yes, Morning in America!

    Trump no doubt is a true Washington ‘Outside’, but his lucky odds of finding enough people around the Beltway who are just like him, is a House favorite with odds against him like 1000/1 that Trump will have any win from his quest. A winner who would win by putting their money on Trump, would by their winning have rapid success to becoming the newest member of the Fortune 500 club…or is that the 400 families who own but half the same net worth as America’s lower financial class….trickle down has it’s own rewards, but the only cliche is, is that you just don’t get any of that wealth!

    If we start right now by educating our grandchildren towards them being able to understand what Mr Sterling put fore here, and if we advise and encourage a well learned generation to get actively involved inside our government, from city, county, state, and federal government positions they could fill, then we may have that chance that many of us here have long craved for…..plant a seed, water it everyday, and watch it grow!

  23. Marko
    February 12, 2017 at 01:07

    A Power to the People Proposal :

    Robert David Steele is trying to help Trump avoid the sabotage attempts from both inside and outside of his administration. His suggestions aren’t partisan – he’s trying to help Trump wrest control from the Deep State and put it back in the hands of the people , especially via electoral reform , which I think is critical.

    Read this short description ( with links to greater detail ) and share it widely if it suits you ( share buttons at bottom of page ) , as time may be short for Trump and Steele is trying to generate as much popular support for this as he can :

      February 12, 2017 at 08:51

      Thanks Marko. I’ve already posted your link to my FACEBOOK page and I urge others to do so. I absolutely agree with you:

      “Robert David Steele is trying to help Trump avoid the sabotage attempts from both inside and outside of his administration. His suggestions aren’t partisan – he’s trying to help Trump wrest control from the Deep State and put it back in the hands of the people , especially via electoral reform , which I think is critical”


      Dr. Bart Gruzalski, Professor Emeritus Philosophy and Public Policy, Northeastern University, Boston, MA

  24. February 12, 2017 at 01:01

    Amy Goodman and Democracy Now needs to interview Rick Sterling on this matter. Amy Goodman might also bring on Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley, Tulsi Gabbard, and Elizabeth Kucinich… That is – IF (a big IF) Amy Goodman truly wants to see war in Syria come to an end.

    For Amnesty International to produce a cartoon, for heaven’s sake, to help tell their story is pathetically weak, bordering on irrationality. Can anyone imagine a cartoon on.. say.. Hiroshima, or Nagasaki.

    This Amnesty International “production” is an extremely dangerous development, and must become seen clearly as the attempt to manipulate public opinion for more destructive war that it is.

      February 12, 2017 at 08:57

      Jerry Alatalo,

      I agree with you that “Amy Goodman and Democracy Now needs to interview Rick Sterling on this matter. Amy Goodman might also bring on Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley, Tulsi Gabbard, and Elizabeth Kucinich….”
      But Democracy Now has become a propaganda tool for the Establishment even before the election of Donald Trump. As you say, DN should do this….
      ” That is – IF (a big IF) Amy Goodman truly wants to see war in Syria come to an end.” I’m inclined to think that Amy Goodman wants to see the war in Syria grow and drag the USA into a way with Russia. She’s become totally a shill for the Deep State. I’ll send them a copy of my comment but it won’t matter. They are following the Deep State which, I assume, is either funding them or has something on them that they can’t tolerate seeing some to light.

      • Lois Gagnon
        February 12, 2017 at 13:16

        Amy was reprimanded on air by none other than frequent DN guest Prof. Emeritus Stephen Cohen of Princeton and NYU for using the term “rebels” when referring to the Jihadists supported by the US. Think this was 2 or 3 weeks back. Wonder if he’ll be invited back?

      • John
        February 12, 2017 at 18:36

        All one has to do is rewatch Amy’s fawning coverage of the “rebels” in Libya…

      February 12, 2017 at 08:58

      “For Amnesty International to produce a cartoon, for heaven’s sake, to help tell their story is pathetically weak, bordering on irrationality. Can anyone imagine a cartoon on.. say.. Hiroshima, or Nagasaki.”

      I can. It would be equally immoral, crass, and unbelievably stupid. Probably the Mushroom Clouds would have names and we’d be told how they eradicated cancer in those two cities or some such gobbledigook.

    • D5-5
      February 12, 2017 at 12:19

      I regret to say Amy Goodman’s bias toward the Assad government is nothing new. I was previously a fan of this program and tried repeatedly to point out she should study alternative views, until finally she blocked receiving my emails. I don’t want to beat the dead horse here, since I’ve already mentioned this problem in this forum. Possibly if somebody else tried through the contact tab at the site to point to this article and Moon of Alabama, which immediately analysed the report as propaganda. In watching the report just now, along with the complete acceptance of the AI view (although a disclaimer from the Syrian Government is briefly shown) I was struck with the propagandistic nature of the materials in terms of morbid sound effects, and cartoon figures, in itself what ought to put up a raised eyebrow. But I think Amy likes this sort of stuff. It’s alarming because she has such influence on the Left, but she repeatedly offers this bias toward Syria. Why I don’t know.

      • John
        February 12, 2017 at 18:37

        Look at her funding, and the why becomes obvious…

      • Bravo3
        February 14, 2017 at 19:08

        Yep, Amy Goodman and DN are gatekeepers. I’ve dropped more media and Internet resources than I can count, post-9/11, who give themselves away as latent neo-con, pro-Zionist shills despite their phony progressive, independent, iconoclastic veneers — most noticeably by what stories they either stonewall or fall back on parroting the “official” narrative du jour.

  25. roberthkip
    February 11, 2017 at 23:17

    Ai+white helmet +moderate terrorists +saudis+qataris+turks=terrorists

  26. February 11, 2017 at 22:23

    When I heard this report cited Monday on BBC, it seemed suspicious with its timing just after Trump’s inauguration and the beginning of Syria working to recover from the last 4 years after the withdrawal of DAESH and other terrorists. The report claims to cover those 4 years, and it comes out just now?

  27. John
    February 11, 2017 at 21:27

    Everybody love the USA dollar……and scumbags know how to use them……

  28. Lois Gagnon
    February 11, 2017 at 21:26

    AI, like most other large NGOs has lost sight of its original mission. The State Department has a talent for infiltrating these once legitimate organizations and turning them into tools of propaganda. Even Greenpeace is funded by big foundation money. You don’t see activists hanging banners from oil rigs or performing acts of civil disobedience anymore. They’ve all been tamed by funding mechanisms.

    Sad how easily credibility can be bought.

    • Lawrence Magnuson
      February 11, 2017 at 22:00

      Perfect correlation.

  29. Bill Bodden
    February 11, 2017 at 20:09

    Perhaps some of our own CIA operatives could confirm what was going on in Saydnaya Prison. They were probably eye witnesses (or ear witnesses) to what was going on in that hell hole while they were observing “enhanced interrogations” of their own victims renditioned to this former black site.

    Who took the photographs of the prison and the cemetery? The same photographer who shot pictures of Colin Powell’s mobile chemical labs in Iraq?

    • February 11, 2017 at 21:40

      Hear! Hear! Mahar Arar, the Canadian citizen rendered to Syria where he could be tortured outside of the law. I believe this set a precedent. All torture conducted within Syria is outside of the law. All the allegations of torture against the al-Assad regime may indeed be true, but said torture was conducted within Syria, and outside of the law.

      February 12, 2017 at 09:03


      Yes. It was the same photographer. She specializes in helicopter shots.

  30. Zachary Smith
    February 11, 2017 at 18:49

    One prominent example is in Iraq, where AI “corroborated” the false story that Iraqi soldiers were stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. The deception was planned and carried out in Washington to influence the U.S. public and Congress.

    A more recent example is from 2011 where false accusations were being made about Libya and Muammar Gaddafi as Western and Gulf powers sought to overthrow his government. AI leaders joined the campaign claiming that Gaddafi was using “mercenaries” to threaten and kill peacefully protesting civilians.

    Many thanks to Rick Sterling for this information. This is the first I’ve heard of Amnesty International becoming a propaganda outlet of the neocons. This despite trying very hard to keep informed on these issues.

  31. Gregory Herr
    February 11, 2017 at 18:46

    Thanks to Rick Sterling for his continued efforts to dispel despicably blatant lies. A companion piece from Moon of Alabama:

  32. fhggfghvcf
    February 11, 2017 at 18:33


  33. Drew Hunkins
    February 11, 2017 at 17:26

    Bravo to Mr. Sterling! ‘Bout time someone called out A.I. and Soros for indirectly and not so indirectly fostering and tacitly supporting Washington-Israeli imperialism.

    I’ve always shook my head when the latest A.I. report would come out — for example, on one of Israel’s recent barbarous obliterations of 1,000+ innocent women and children in Gaza — and A.I. would posture as the cool-headed, brilliant neutral observer giving virtually comparable attention and condemnation to a few crudely made Palestinian catapult bombs versus the entire Israeli Defense [sic] Forces backed with the latest military technology, billions of U.S. tax dollars and upholding an illlegal occupation based on racism and ethnic cleansing.

    • jo6pac
      February 11, 2017 at 18:36

      Nailed it. ai is also friends of the white helmets in Syria and they’re just another ngo paid by the british govt. Propaganda.

      • Andrew Nichols
        February 13, 2017 at 18:46

        And Greenpeace is also inexplicably doing the Whitecaps dance. Greenpeace – the environmental organisation dedicated to fighting AGW and for an anti nuclear future getting caught up in a campaign so far out of its core aims it might as well be a vegetarian society advocating the consumption of beef! Are there any NGOs that arent utterly debased by Establishment capture now?

    • Peter Loeb
      February 12, 2017 at 07:40


      With thanks to Rick Sterling and Drew Hunkins , it should be noted that
      National Public Radio (self-proclaimed “balanced” reporting!!) has
      never in my memory featured any information which does not
      follow the policy line to demonize Syria and leave out vital facts.

      A a long tear jerking story was run by NPR with a long interview
      of the tortured refugee now in Sweden. By skype, There was
      no context provided any listener as mentioned by Sterling

      As for my opinion, I awaited this contribution which Sterling
      has provided.

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA,USA

      • BEard681
        February 13, 2017 at 09:42

        When I heard the NPR report on the radio, they said that 20 to 30 prisoners where hanged each week. I pulled out my phone and did some quick math, and at that rate there would be maybe 1500 executions per year. Somebody must of picked up on that because later in the day they changed it to 30-50 prisoners, once or twice per week.

      February 12, 2017 at 09:05


      Couldn’t agree more. Soros should of course be prosecuted for sedition. IF any federal money goes to AI, is should be cut off.

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