Photo Archive Is Said to Show Widespread Torture in Syria

If genuine, the trove is new visual corroboration that Syria’s government is guilty of mass war crimes against its own citizens, just as it appeared to regain some international standing.

Comments: 145

  1. The horrendous crimes evidenced in these photos show a disgusting Auschwitz-like mentality at work. The refusal of Obama and other isolationists in the US and the UK to do anything effective is shameful.

    The Obama-Kerry policy of strategic withdrawal is causing worldwide damage that will take years to repair.

  2. Charles.... horrendous is a fitting description personally I am lost for words the U.N & the World can not allow this conflict to go on forever....George little then press secretary Pentagon last Sept emphasized the possibility unilateral American military force was still ( on the table does this still have legs...) Assad air power is a major problem....So once again talks are underway I find the U.S Administration & there has to be a few Israel footprints in there somewhere... have allowed Iran to be sidelined this from a no show threat from the fractured Syrian Rebel Forces.....so no matter the out come Iran/Russia will still have the final say & we already know the answer to that... I doubt the U.S President would have allowed this if he had sole charge of trying to get a positive outcome ( advisors give me a break) Rebels have effectively dictated the terms to the U.S Administration..Russias Sergia Lavrov mentions the same plus it belittles the U.N.....Iran has considerable interests in Syria............john

  3. It is exceptionally horrific to hear about this. But to imply that it is our duty to intervene is fairly disingenuous. Syria is surrounded by countries that do not not need to ship everything half around the world, and what are they doing? What is the UN doing.

    It is high time to expect that other countries do their fair share and admit (if we can put aside our rather copious pride) that our resources are not limitless and we are not world police. We have quite significant problems at home. If we are not involved in another war, maybe we won't have to argue over whether we can afford to give food to needy children here.

  4. Adrienne;
    Don't intervene but call 'spade a spade'. And getting on a table with Syrian regime delegate is a mockery of the human civilization. HOW could they negotiate with a regime who is responsible for a horrific genocide, and continuing a bloodbath of Syrian folks unabated for 3 years. Where is the world's conscience if they have one!! Extremely callous and highly insensitive MSM. What a shame we live in such a duplicitous world...HORRENDOUS!!!!

  5. Don't worry. We will always find a way to argue over whether we can afford to give food to needy children, regardless of how we use our resources abroad.

  6. US resources are pretty much limitless, it is rather a moral decision how we use them, domestically or on an international stage? The immoral decisions and the unwanted but predicted outcomes of the recent past should not be used to dismiss right action. Although popular now, much as the Iraq "shock an awe" was then, staying our hand in the face of atrocities is just begging more genocide. We should verify and act based on the evidence, much as we did with the last instance of war crimes by this proven tyrant.

  7. And did our own CIA not outsource torture to Syria?

    Our outrage must be matched by our shame.

  8. No, they did not. The Baathist regime in Syria, a Soviet/Russian client, is not known for cooperating with the States.

    And to compare the torture, starvation and execution of 11,000 prisoners with anything the US has done in the region is balmy. Get a grip.

  9. Yes, during the Bush administration, Canadian Maher Arar, was seized at Kennedy airport in September 2002 while awaiting a connecting flight home, held for two weeks, denied access to a lawyer, denied his right to be deported to Canada and then "rendered (outsourced)" to Syria for torture by proxy. The Canadian government filed a formal protest over Arar's treatment by the U.S.

    When Arar filed suit against the U.S., his case was thrown out under the "State Secrets Privilege" and he is still barred from entering the U.S. The Canadian government held an investigatory commission, which exonerated Arar of any connection to terrorism and compensated him about $10.5 million Canadian for providing inaccurate information about him which was the basis for his "rendition" to Syria. Congressmen William Delahunt and Dana Rohrabacher issued personal apologies to Arar, but when it came to doing justice for a victim of torture it facilitated, the U.S. weasled out!

  10. "Mr. Assad’s enemies say they hope the leak...will cause enough revulsion in the West to prevent any deal that might leave him in place, or perhaps prod the West into more muscular steps to remove him, just as the disclosure of the Serbian massacre at Srebrenica in 1995 moved NATO to launch airstrikes in the Balkans."

    sorry, but the arabs are going to have stand up for their own. saudis? iraq? jordan? egypt? where are you? i applaud what the qataris have done--probably with many people risking their lives--but the US and the "west" learned their lesson from iraq and saddam hussein, who was arguably worse that mr. assad, and arguably more people were killed after he was deposed than before. at best, we can hope that russia will become more muscular against the assad government by removing any remaining diplomatic or material support. that is: russia, where are you now?

  11. The Qataris the Saudis and the general level of USA ignorance are the main problems, the Assad regime was 'civilised' compared with the mad and bad regimes that surrounded him. As for our appalling support of forces opposed to our natural allies- the Serbs- yet another misreading of history resulting in stupidity.

  12. Ron;
    ''...opposed to our natural allies-the Serbs".
    Quite an interesting comment. Hopefully; the natural blue eyed allies could have been Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Milosevic, Hafiz ul Assad, Mubarak, Ben Ali, Abdullah Saleh, Bashar ul Assad, el sisi'....with the exception of bad boys Saddam, Qaddafi, and Morsi. And a few loyal lapdogs like Karzai and Maliki !!!

  13. It's not really new news. There are many pictures and videos on the internet.

  14. So what are these corpses? Wax figures? They belong in Madame Tussaud's I guess?

    This post is an example of denial of what we don't like to see -- what makes life difficult for ourselves.

  15. I can understand the reluctance of the USA to be involved in Syria's war, but there is a trend to justify the lack of action by saying that in Syria both sides are commiting crimes and that the rebels are not worth US help. This is untrue. Assad is a butcher and should be toppled. Again, I'm not blaming the US, I'm blaming the current trend to justify inaction.

  16. Maybe we could send Assad a strong message by immediately trying and prosecuting our own criminal leader of 2001-2009 for his violations of the UN charter and Geneva Accords around the world.

  17. Well this is how propaganda works, the Qatari government and all the others, the Saudis etc are the poison in the pot; anyone who believes this probably believed the Blair/Bush lies about WMD- the blind led by criminals.

  18. This is horrific.

    But as shameful as it is, this is >not< on the United States.

    This is on Bashir al Assad.

    Let the Arab and Muslim countries of the world provide armed support to Syria, if that is what it will take.

    We lost thousands of U.S. lives in ill conceived military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan that lasted for more than a decade. We cannot police that entire chaotic region, nor force the various populations to behave as we would wish.

    This does not have our name on it.

    This is not in any way a lack of sympathy for the people of Syria. They obviously deserve better than their horrendous government. Hopefully Assad, if taken alive, will be tried for war crimes at the Hague. But my 20 year old nephew, who is in the Army reserve, has just begun college. The last thing I want for him is that he is sent by the military to fight a war in Syria.....

  19. “I feel like we have had at least one or two Srebrenica moments in Syria already,” said Robert Kagan. “The White House has completely hardened itself to whatever horrendous news might come out of Syria because the president doesn’t want to get involved."

    The Arab spring which Obama promised for the folks in Middle East has turned to be a nightmare of extreme intensity. Syrians and Egyptians are paying with their blood. What a democracy they got...mere death and destruction. It also proves the fact that 'western' notion of democracy is hypocritical. It's like hollow slogan used against a ruler or leader who is disliked. If Assad and el Sisi could get away by committing all the atrocities; sky is the limit for 'western' civilization. WHAT A SHAME!!!!!

  20. President Obama is not the only American who does not want to get involved. A majority of the American people are right there with him. And President Obama did not promise "folks" in the Middles east an "Arab Spring". And he doesn't make the earth travel round the sun or the tides rise and fall.

  21. Cornflower;
    " And he doesn't make the earth travel round the sun or the tides rise and fall."

    Nobody asked Pres. Obama to give statements like 'crossing redline'. Don't intervene in the conflict but don't justify the war crimes and atrocities against humanity by bringing Assad clan for table talks. It's like appreciating this butcher and his cohorts while they continue the mayhem in Syria. Stop aiding and helping the despots....!! They won't last and their defendants would be on the wrong side of history. It's just a matter of conscience if you have one or not!!!

  22. "“Who are these people?” he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. “Are they innocent political prisoners or are they Al Qaeda?” "
    Whoever they are, they were tortured and killed, and those responsible should be brought to justice. Obama and Kerry just cannot remain silent. If they were scandalized by the use of chemical weapons, they have to be equally scandalized, or even more, with the evidence presented by these pictures. If the US is not to intervene, it should at least press and convene for a group of countries to do so. If the Syrian tyrant continues unabated, the whole world will be at fault.

  23. As far as torture goes, it's best if we not judge and throw stones or interfere in any way in Syria because we live in a humongous glass house.

  24. This article is filled with one of America's favorite pastimes... the notion that "They kill their own people", as an excuse to get US troops into a country. Remember Iraq? "They kill their own people" was a huge pretext for getting into Iraq. How much better did we make things there?

    Talk to those who were at Kent State University in 1970 and tell me that we don't also kill our own people.

  25. Kent State? Oh please. Four students killed by trigger happy national guardsmen, acting against orders, does not equate to a government campaign of war that has killed well over 120,000 people.

    I think it's better to be honest and say, Syria under Assad is torturing and killing a tremendous amount of its own people, but we don't care because it'd be too much trouble to stop them, and what the heck they're only Muslims.

  26. The US and the UK must stay out of this. It is time that the people in the like minded countries surrounding Syria woke up. The Arab Brotherhood should show their faces and their money. The Muslim League should make some attempts to stop their own people from torturing each other. All of the problems that the Muslim countries face must be handled in-house. All the good intentions of the UK and the US only leave us more hated than ever.
    We have our own problems at the moment that need our own in-house care.

  27. These photographs released by Qatar are highly suspicious. Torture and random executions are not the privilege of Assad's regime and the Jihadists are the worst breed of humanity in our century.

  28. Ruthless violence of these people unfortunately have to deal with this situation.

  29. Nothing of this scale could have been possible without the generous financial support of our new-found friends, the
    Iranians.

  30. Stanton;
    Couldn't be expressed better. Hit the nail where it needed the most. Obama could be nominated for another Noble peace prize with Rouhani; this time a duo!!!

  31. I don't see how the Syrians can accept an incompetent war criminal like Assad as their leader. He started this whole civil war by killing peaceful protesters who wanted a change from his corrupt militaristic government. King Abdullah was begging Arab leaders like Assad to meet their citizens halfway but instead he chose a brutal crackdown. We should encourage the negotiators to keep Assad's party and his civil authorities in place but Assad has to go.

  32. The U.S. should provide moral leadership here. But after we've sent prisoners to Syria for torture ourselves, and committed torture and killing in Abu Ghraib and Bagram, and killed at least 150,000 Iraqis, that would be unconvincing.

  33. Syrians calling for economic and political reform are being killed by a government armed by the United States. The formal petition from concerned nations, sees others at risk, where refusal to talk, to rebuild and construct a new religious and economic system, instead compromises contingents in place in nations in Operations codenamed Phaeton, where the eminence of thunder, as it might assert US attempts to assemble a world party in favour of military endeavours, speaks to quell oppostion of the nature that means to assist innocent lives being lost in not only Syria, but world wide, all for the power to sanction tyrnanny in the attempt to move toward global conquest. Basically, it means the killing of innocent lives in Syria can be controlled, in the instance organised efforts are made to assert authority with military endeavours, that could spark all out war. 2B or not 2B that is the question. But on the bright side new scritputes can be compared to ancient writings that give detail to the dialogue of God as it was witnessed in the thunder in Africa and the winner then completes the order to acquire the spear of destiny, symbolising the ruling world party. Is it Russia, China, Eastern Europe ( The Byzantine Empire ) or the United Sates and it's allies such as Indonesia, Syria, Turkey and Egypt. Eventually, Western Eurpoe will have to oppose the plan, before war spills out into neighbouring countries and lead to another oil spill to assert operation spoil sport.

  34. Yes, we've known for a long time that the Syrian government is brutal, but you can watch any number of videos on youtube showing much of the opposition is just as bad.

  35. Even if true, the rebels are Sunnis and the Syrian Govt is run by Alawhites. It's a proxy war Iran and Russia vs. Saudi Arabia and Qatar. We should not intervene. The US in another Muslim country won't work out well for anyone.

  36. Photos of atrocities and human rights abuses have been coming from both sides in this conflict.

    That Iran was just disinvited to attend the Syria peace talks, with the Sunni continent still well represented, doesn't bode well for a resolution, and calls into question the timing of the release of these photos.

    Meanwhile, does anyone really think that "Ceasar" can maintain his anonymity when it's being reported he was a recent defector who had a direct role in the documentation, so presumably can be easily identified?

    Unless, and until, the outside supporters of this proxy war cease to lend their financial and military support, this horrendous civil war will continue into perpetuity, and/or mushroom into our next world war.

    Let's give piece a chance! Salaam = Shalom!

  37. Unauthenticated photos from an unidentified source should not form the basis of evidence. Mr. Kirkpatrick should know better after his fake article about Benghazi was debunked a week later by the senate report. The Times needs to report news and not fiction or unsupported allegations.

  38. You should read more carefully . . .

    "If genuine, the trove is new visual corroboration that Mr. Assad’s government is guilty of mass war crimes against its own citizens, just as it appeared to regain some international standing."

  39. Also you should have read the article on Benghazi, it was completely in line with the Senate report. Interestingly, neither was supportive of conservatives' view of Benghazi, which seems to have no basis in reality.

  40. There has to be harder, better evidence. Many people were beating the war-drum over the chemical weapons attack, saying we "knew" that attack had come from Assad's forces, but that has now been shown to be false. "The authors of a report released Wednesday said that their study of the rocket’s design, its likely payload and its possible trajectories show that it would have been impossible for the rocket to have been fired from inside areas controlled by the Syrian government.

    "In the report, “Possible Implications of Faulty U.S. Technical Intelligence,” Richard Lloyd, a former United Nations weapons inspector, and Theodore Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argue that the question about the rocket’s range indicates a major weakness in the case for military action initially pressed by Obama administration officials. "

  41. So according to the report this guy is order to photograph bodies as proof of identity for the relatives of the dead and for the government. This he has done during this revolt starting on the 15th of March until somewhere in August 2013. That is until the end of August a total of 870 days (February 2012 had 29 days). Again according to this report he made 55.000 photo's of at least 11.000 victims, claiming to have mad at most 50 photo's a day. So this would mean it would have taken him at least 1100 days non stop to produce this material. But there were only 870 days maximum. And then suddenly exactly this man deserts to the rebellion with Qatar paying these experts for the report. A report appearing two days before this peace conference starts. Obviously this story stinks, even worse then the fantasies we read about the poison gas attack near Damascus.

  42. In answer to that Syrian lapdog journalist's question, "Who are these people? Are they innocent political prisoners or are they Al Qaeda?”
    Human beings, my friend.
    To Mr. David Crane: Do not forget Cambodia. Millions dead. Heaps of bodies and scattered skeletons were photographed. And remember the torture chamber photos, too.
    Syrian, Cambodian, German, American. Torture is a crime against humanity.

  43. Frankly, I don't even believe that these pictures are authentic. It makes absolutely no sense for Assad to take these pictures. It is just more propaganda. "Caesar" even sounds like a pseudonym that a Western intelligence agency would make up. However, if these pictures are authentic then Saudi, Bush, and Obama Administration officials better be on trial right next to Assad's goons.

  44. What is happening in Syria is the outcome of terrorism which was originally incited by Qatar. The photos were arranged by Qatar. Its agent collected them. Qatar, a city-state that is known for supporting terrorists and along with Saudi Arabia and Turkey started the counter revolution in Syria. In fact, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and Turkey, if there is justice in this World, should be held responsible for the total chaos and destruction that they have been inflicted upon the Syrian people since 2011.
    It is unfortunate that there is complete lack of coverage of the actors who have started the destruction of Syria. There is a need to answer questions like, ‘How did terrorists get into Syria with heavy weapons? Who did incite these terrorists, organize and finance them? What is the involvement of the West in the scheme to destroy Syria? And lastly, why did these actors target Syria with terrorism?” Answering these questions is the essence of professional reporting.

  45. This is a war crime against humanity. But what nation or nations or organization can judge and hold people accountable without bias and with clean hands?

    Too bad that America with it's history of invasion and occupation and killing and wounding and displacing people by the tens of thousands from Vietnam to Afghanistan to Iraq is in no moral position to judge and criticize what happened here.

    Too bad that America with it's history of kidnapping, torture, indefinite detention and drone war in the region can offer no credible critique of this evil.

    Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni Muslim Arab autocracies are behind the Syrian opposition.

    Iran and Iraq as Shia Muslim nations back Assad and his Syrian regime.

    Russia is behind Syria and has made war on non-ethnic Russian Muslim natives and neighbors. It has no moral authority here either.

    NATO? The U.N.? The Arab League? The Turks (Armenians)? The Kurds?

  46. While the crimes in these photos is self-explaining, the evidence of time and place is inexistent: where and when were these photos taken

    Also, the alleged reason for the photos is strange: why would torturers take and keep proof of their crimes in such an organized way ?

    And then, the timing and the financiers of this report make me very suspicious.

  47. I can't address your first and last questions, but the second one has historical precedence. I can't explain why torturers keep records and take pictures, only that they often do. The Nazis were fastidious about documenting their atrocities, most likely because they were proud of them and didn't think what they were doing was all that atrocious. And it's not just "other" people who feel compelled to photograph their own crimes. Haven't you seen the photos of what American soldiers did at Abu Ghraib? Anyone sick enough to torture another human being is sick enough to be proud of it. You can't overstate how sinister humans can be.

  48. You ask, "...why would torturers take and keep proof of their crimes in such an organized way?" I don't care to speculate on motives, but look no further than the Nazi penchant for cataloguing their own heinous crimes if you are seeking tangible proof that it's done and in an "organized way", at that.

  49. Political and timing issues aside, the pictorial documentation of victims of political repression and war is nothing new. In Cambodia, at execution centers, victims were cataloged and pictures were taken. There's a picture of a room, in which the walls are covered from ceiling to floor with head shots of victims of the regime. And to one side, a pyramid of bleached human skulls. The Nazis used films and photographs of Jewish victims as a way of inciting violence against them. I saw a film last year about a propaganda film made in the Warsaw Ghetto. There were outtakes of the film crew and their attitude towards their subjects was blase. It's like a pornographer who has a stash of photos: It's a way of dehumanizing their victims one last time, in photographs that will live on long after their deaths. The idea the perpetrators would be called to account for this photographs probably never even entered their mind. So, the fact these practices exists doesn't surprise me.

  50. David Crane's quote for this article is wildly inaccurate. What kind of war crimes investigator is not aware of the S21 prison operated by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia from '75 to '79? S21 where 20,000 men, women, and children were systematically tortured, documented, photographed before and after and were brutally exterminated without any due process. That is of course in addition to the 1.5 million that the KR were responsible for killing and starving to death.

    I just think that his points can be made and stay true to history. We have seen this many times since Germany. What we need to ask ourselves is why sometimes we choose to get involved and at other times we don't. The UN was set up partly to make sure that there is international cooperation to stop these atrocities but it is wildly ineffective due to the Security Council setup. We really need to fix how we police internationally otherwise this same story will be repeated again and again. When it is over people will ask why the US and the world didn't do anything.

  51. Mr. Crane's quote says that "it is very rare to have this kind of government-backed, industrial, machinelike, systematic torture and killing of human beings, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Nuremberg,”. It does NOT say that it is unprecedented, as your comment suggests. As such, his quote was both not inaccurate nor, as you put it, "wildly inaccurate." These instance are, in fact, very rare, thankfully. Mr. Crane's point is that all such instances must be confronted, not buried.

  52. A pro-regime journalist at the peace conference "suggested a plan to undermine the Syrian government, and he questioned the photos’ authenticity". He asked, who the dead people were. Well, according to Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, his country were fighting a war against terrorist groups. So only terrorists have been killed!!!!
    Over a hundred thousand!!!!!
    This outlook is something for Sigmund Freud!

  53. The number of comments urging that the US effectively wash our hands of the human catastrophe in Syria is striking coming only two days after the celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday. Is not injustice anywhere, injustice everywhere?

    We may not like what the first decade of this century brought, with misplaced wars of aggression and occupation.

    But that we botched our attempts to do justice then, does not relieve us of our eternal duty to try to do justice now.

    I beat no war drum here. I simply dispute that one should ever, ever wash one's hands of injustice in this world. Not us. That should not be in our job description.

  54. I think we have enough on our plate with Gitmo, without looking elsewhere. That doesn't need to be "authenticated".

  55. Nonsense. Tranches of photos, faked or real, are to make us dance like puppets on a string? No longer. Just how successful have our interventions been up to now? They have always increased the casualties and made things worse.

  56. It's unfortunate, but most people seem to prefer a comfortable lifestyle for themselves over justice for other humans. And it's also a little understandable that people have the impression that all the warring MidEast countries are not capable of peace, and that there will not be justice done in those savage lands within our lifetimes.

  57. “I feel like we have had at least one or two Srebrenica moments in Syria already,” said Robert Kagan, a scholar at the Brookings Institution who has pushed for American action. “The White House has completely hardened itself to whatever horrendous news might come out of Syria because the president doesn’t want to get involved.”

    Contrast this with:

    "How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing. It seems still more impossible that a quarrel which has already been settled in principle should be the subject of war." - Neville Chamberlain

    In David Remnick's article in the New Yorker, Obama is portrayed as being concerned with the "long game". Let's see how history judges him. Time will tell whether Obama's policy of negotiating with murderers succeeds.

  58. Don't make the mistake of assuming that American military intervention is a simple solution that will solve the problem--- sort of like the imaginary 3 week war that would pay for itself while we were greeted with flowers in Iraq. The best solution is to convince Russia and Iran that it is not in their interest to support this regime, and that whatever comes next will not be equally bad or worse

  59. David Remnick is hardly equipped to weigh in on issues he knows little about. Ascribing thoughtfulness to Obama's actions, especially with respect to Syria, is ridiculous. He's been bumbling through that for years.

    If the President were truly interested in the long game, he would do his country a service and fix the financial mess before the dollar ceases to be the world's reserve currency.

    All the President does nowadays is tell a lie or two to get him through the day.

  60. Dan;
    "Obama is portrayed as being concerned about the "long game".
    It started with Afghanistan then Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Egypt, and Mali...and the list would go on and on. Some places they would stand with tyrants and despots (right now with Assad and Rouhani); in other scenarios they would be siding with lapdog democrats( Karzai Maliki).
    However 'long game' is beginning of the end. May be Obama believes in the dooms day coming soon scenario. So he is acting fast!!!!

  61. As Hillary said, "What difference at this point does it make?"

    Torture goes on every day around the world and has since the beginning of time. How many have been punished?

  62. That is a rather flippant and unsavory use of Sec. Clinton's comment. The original context had to do with the debate over the causes of a siege on an underprotected embassy. We are debating what to do about a horrific civil war.

    Are you claiming Sec. Clinton would say, "What difference does it make?" to that question?

    As I said, flippant and unsavory.

  63. *yawn* Did you ever find those WMD's in Iraq? Your credibility at crying wolf isn't good, little boy.

  64. The oft repeated canard is that the error in Iraq was the absence of WMD. In fact the error in Iraq was that Iraq had absolutely no connection with 9/11 as most U.S. citizens believed. As for Iraq and WMDs, the facts are that Saddam Hussein did try to build a nuclear facility which was bombed by Israel. The fact is that an Iraqi microbiologist did proclaim publicly that they were working on weaponizing anthrax. And the fact is that they did use chemical weapons in Iran and against their own Kurdish population. Whether or not any WMDs were found misses the point; any person who believed Iraq did not have WMDs was a fool.

  65. Iran and Russia are known allies of the Assad government, and these photos are strong evidence of the Assad regime's actions. Iran is also known to be militarily involved in the conflict, too. Those governments are supporting a regime that may well be cruel and murderous on a historic scale, so other governments must be very guarded in their dealings with them.

  66. Do you mean as cruel and murderous as the US and Israel? The level of ignorance of seemingly educated people in America boggles the mind. America and Israel have always tortured and committed mass murder but the only difference is that no one has put any Americans or Israelis in jail for it. When America convicts and jails the members of the Bush and Obama regimes for torture and mass murder then and only then can America have a say in the affairs of other nations.

  67. Man's inhumanity toward man. When I see stuff like this I sometimes think our species deserves extinction.

  68. Though the Obama administration has been a model of failure on both domestic and foreign policy for the last 5 years, no single issue exemplifies its abject ineptitude as much as syria. First drawing a redline, and then backing down after that lines was crossed many times; has there ever been a US administration with less credibility than this one?

    Russia needs to be told that it will face dire consequences for continuing to support this animal named assad, including WTO expulsion and a boycott of its natural gas, which Europe can purchase through the US and other sources. After 125,000 dead, it is simply insane that this one rogue regime in moscow continues to be allowed to run interference for a mass murderer/war criminal, and the US and the rest of the world with any semblance of a conscience needs to step up and launch airstrikes to destroy assad's regime.

    These photographs are merely another piece of unassailable evidence, including thousands of defected soldiers and governmental officials who have authenticated in thousands of interviews the atrocities committed by this regime. These absurd, nonsense posts from others in this forum questioning the evidence are clear instances of trolling/syrian electronic army propaganda, and should be removed by the NY Times.

  69. "has there ever been a US administration with less credibility than this one?" uh, yeah. The one that proceed it. I seem to recall the Bush administration starting a war on falsified evidence. That would pretty much destroy any credibility it may have had. At least this one is thinking twice before it sends in the troops.

  70. Bob;

    Excellent comment; Couldn't be expressed better. You have been truthful and objective however truth has been a casualty in the MSM about the Syrian conflict. The defendants of Assad regime are influenced by the propaganda of Syrian electronic army. Assad's wife has a lot of influence in the 'westeren' world from Columbia univ. to UN....she has loads of cash to play with !!!

  71. Yes, we should invade Syria with hundreds of thousands of troops and defeat Assad's army in the Battle of Macho Grande! That would make for great TV viewing!

  72. You decide who are the bigger fools: the ones who methodically recorded these images or the ones who believe these images to be a true record.

  73. I have been watching unedited videos on several unsavory sites. In the videos you can see:

    1) Syrian military torturing and executing Syrian rebels.
    2) Syrian rebels torturing and executing Syrian military.
    3) Syrian rebels torturing and executing the other Syrian rebels.
    4) Syrian rebels, Syrian military, and the other Syrian rebels torturing and executing civilians.

    Torture in this conflict is not new and not a surprise. This conflict is not new and not a surprise.

    What is a surprise is that we think it is our place to get involved. What is a surprise is that we think we know which side to support.

    Did Syria get involved in our Indian Wars in the 19th century? Did Syria get involved with our Civil War? Did they get involved with our race riots or Civil Rights battles? No? Well that seems like a pretty good decision. Perhaps we should consider taking that same course.

    There are plenty of human rights violations occurring within our own borders. Clean up our own house before getting deeply involved with a fight that has no resolution.

  74. Early in the article:

    "If genuine,..." and "if authenticated..."

    Later in the article:

    "The photos were used to provide death certificates to the families of the victims without turning over the bodies, and were archived as a record that the men had been killed."

    None of that silly talk about authentication by this time. Here are a few question for readers to ponder (but by all means read the report – I'm sure you'll have many more questions about its authenticity):

    Question 1: If these photos indeed were used "to provide death certificates to the families of the victims without turning over the bodies," do you think at least one of those 11,000 families might have been sufficiently upset that family members would have smuggled out a photo by now?

    Question 2: If you were systematically starving, torturing and killing 11,000 prisoners, would you hire a team of professional photographers to take close-up photos of your crimes and then send those photos to the people most likely to be upset about the crimes you've committed – the families of your victims?

    Question 3: Does it concern you that none of the photos shown in the report (and no other photos mentioned that haven't been shown) make it possible to identify the victim or to indicate where, when, or by whom the victim was mistreated or who took the picture?

    Again: These are just a few of the obvious questions. I highly recommend that you read the whole report (the Times posted it on its website).

  75. Your appear to think you read in the article that the photos were provided to the families. What I read in the article is that death certificates were provided to the families. The article leaves unsaid how photos might enable a death certificate.

  76. Another opportunity to paint a "red line" in the Syrian sand -- with the same results as before.

  77. The prior painting of a "redline" by Obama had quite a successful result. Syria crossed Obama's "redline" by using chemical weapons, there were threats of military action as a result thereof, and the outcome was that Syria gave up its chemical weapons to an international body and they are presently being destroyed. All without firing a shot.

    Obama did good.

  78. Your suggestion is send 100.000 troops to Syria, Topple the Assad, then Rabid Islamist Al Qaeda takes over and kills ours.

    Cheney did that in Iraq with a GREAT success.

  79. The results, Mike, is that Obama ceded American foreign policy to Putin and that Assad is still in power -- not exactly a "successful result" for the United States.

  80. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. I'm fine with renewing cautious relations with the Syrian government.

  81. Contrary to others, I do not see a solution from Neither UN nor any power Syria's civil war.

    A brutal , ruthless regime vs. vile and violent opposition. All bets are off.
    This is who spill how much blood battle and consequences are already very visible.

    Once the people put human rights second to Nationality and religious figures, no way to save lives.

  82. Like everyone I'm horrified. Humans everywhere are capable of inhuman acts. Both sides in any war commit atrocious acts. Who has a solution? And as we all know, truth is the first casualty in most any conflict.

    The age old human frailties of pride, greed, selfishness and desire for power and control have existed from the beginning. There is no solution except for each individual to try and do the right thing under a given set of circumstances.

    The US should stay out of this. Those in direct conflict have to figure it out as best they can. Good luck.

  83. daj;

    Atleast you are truthful regardless of the fact US intervenes or not. It's just distinguishing 'right' from 'wrong'; drawing a line between the 'oppressor' and 'oppressed'. Assad's and his wife's hands are soaked in blood; they would have a dreadful end regardless of the help they get from Russia and Iran, and from so many in the 'western' world who support them overtly and covertly!!! Syrian folks have written history with their blood; and this bloody tyrant will go like so many others in current history!!!

  84. President Obama would not have popular support for a substantial intervention in the conflict. I can't see how the U.S. could intervene and be sure such intervention would improve the lots of the suffering peoples there.

  85. No matter what happens in Syria. Its still non of our business.

  86. So what happens in Syria stays (or should stay) in Syria? And Assad should be able to continue committing war crimes against his own citizens with absolute impunity? In my opinion, that's an incredibly callous viewpoint.

  87. " If genuine" ?
    and released at the beginning of the peace talks? We were told that the Syrian rebels had no nerve gas too.

  88. You aren't out there trying to vaccinate children in rebel held areas. Why blame the Syrian government for not sacrificing health workers. Do you imagine the rebels let workers give immunizations unmolested? You might as well blame the United states for funding the rebels.

  89. This Syrian civil war was sparked by a man who self-immolated followed by the detention and torture of children who spray-painted a building. Human rights activists and organizations have for decades told us of systematic torture and abuses by the current and former Assad regimes. They are notorious for this. It should come as no surprise that in addition to slaughtering 100,000 people this regime is also detaining, torturing and killing the opposition en masse. Yet we have all these voices saying, "Well 55,000 photographs of dead, tortured, emaciated bodies really means nothing. Where's the authentication?" Never mind that forensic, photographic, and legal experts have examined the data, questioned witnesses and found the evidence to be absolutely convincing.

    The West, as usual, talks. Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, all come to mind.

  90. What I find more culpable is the fact that the Sunni Arab autocrats in the Gulf, with the connivance and support of the USA and Israel, engineere the destruction of an entire country merely to give Iran a black eye.

  91. I believe atrocities have been committed by all sides. America has lost all moral authority to condemn torture seeing as the US government is an active participant in torture across the middle east.

  92. We did so, so little in Germany, we came so late. Dynamics of Prejudice. Nuremberg came and went. Yad Vashem stands and is ignored by those we see in action here. We've ignored much of Africa. North Korea. China. So many. Syria touches them all. We saw it coming. Arab Spring is but a stage, all the men, no women, are merely players. Children trashed. Women trashed. Journalists killed. Chemical weapons secured? Millions chased.

    And we are silent. Bled dry in Iraq, we acted on bogus intel. Baked drier in Kabul, we're running out. Since Korea we have been running out.

    Can the world make it with a weakened, unawakened, retreating, ambivalent US? Can an ambivalent reluctant leader lead?

    Is Syria not a trigger? Do we not recall WW I. Nothing started that one. But it led straight to the next.

    Where are we today? Lost.

    In retreat. 40% are rejected when seeking the military: obesity.

    The United States of America is out of sharp. The president says he has a fat lip.

    I say, return to the draft and send adults to congress.

    Hair shirt or no shirt.

  93. So hypocritical. Several government spy agencies have the same evidence against other regimes like North Korea, China, Iran and surely others others in South America. Abhorrent all but to be so theatrically astonished over Syria's abuses is shameful!

  94. As awful as this collection is, I would bet that at least some of the rebel factions have done the same thing to members of Assads forces. When it comes down to it, there us a brutal dictator ordering the death of his own people, and some of his own brutal people are ordering the death of assads forces. Neither side is in the right and no matter who wins, Syria will not be a stable country after all of this. It would be wise for foreign powers to keep their distance because anyone who agrees to send in troops to help is going to be stuck there for quite some time.

  95. Many, many non-combatants died in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hands of the US--suspected combatants tortured--where are those photos?

    War is of course the horror of horrors--if the American people were to see what happens in their name, perhaps our imperialist interventions would cease.

  96. Among the comments, there's this:

    "Did you ever find those WMD's in Iraq?"

    But then there's this:

    "The number of comments urging that the US effectively wash our hands of the human catastrophe in Syria is striking coming only two days after the celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday."

    After being sold a bill of goods in Iraq, we all vowed not to be fooled again by stories of yellowcake and mass graves and mobile chemical-weapons labs. Remember? It wasn't that long ago. Most of us were credulous then, and thousands of US soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis paid for our naivete with their lives.

    Yet here we are, once again – many of us, at least – simply buying another story from the Syrian version of Curveball. Read this report – please. I think you'll agree that even Curveball would have had enough self-respect to doctor it up a bit. One is almost embarrassed for those whose names appear as its authors, except that they freely chose to have their names mentioned.

    Frankly, I'm amazed that so many commenters appear to take this report seriously, to so quickly have forgotten that we all vowed to ask next time for authentication, not merely unsupported allegations from anonymous and unidentified opponents of a Middle Eastern government they would like us to overthrow. It seems that nothing changes.

  97. If the European Union, Qatar, Saudi Arabia or another country want to step in, great. But no matter the cost, this is not our war to fight. We cannot afford to be the world's police. It is time for others to step up to the plate.

  98. '“It is very rare to have this kind of government-backed, industrial, machinelike, systematic torture and killing of human beings, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Nuremberg,” said David Crane, an investigator involved in examining the photos...'.

    He's forgotten Abu Ghraib & Guantanamo pretty quickly, I'd say.

  99. David Crane, "... since Nuremberg,"? Seriously, have you missed the genocide on the African continent in the last four decades?

  100. Another to join the club with Saddam Hussain and Pol Pot.

  101. Hafez Assad was well known of his brutality too.

    Does anyone remember , Saddam has a well documented accustom, to bring his children to torture.

    Unfortunately political leaders philosophy is really important, Mandela's are not born plenty, it is extremely rare. He spent 27 years in brutal prison without revenge.

    Middle east notorious revenge published in Bible and Koran.

    Middle east get over it. It is not extreme abuse of human rights, but certainly chronic abuse of human rights.

  102. A "study" financed by Qatar? - That stinks from the start as Qatar has financed and armed the insurgency - as Saudia (who even provided sarin gas).
    That there is no shortage of corpses is no surprise.
    But where were they? And what killed them? And who did? - that is a very open question.
    We had that before: Wild men with long beards stormed into Homs and killed 120 people, mostly old, women and children - shouting "Allahu akbar!"
    And that was the Syrian army, we were told.
    The Syrian army also fired a rocket with a gas canister that killed many people - foreign experts, however, just found that the missile was a primitive home made thing with a range that would not possible have reached its target from government positions.
    - So, Who did it?
    - Not the army.
    - And who else had the materials?
    - Our glorious "rebels" and"freedom fighters".
    - It wasn't even Al Quaeda!
    We have been lied so much since WW2 - we had all of Mr. H's lies beaten into second place:
    Goverment, ("free" - haha) press, media - what next?

  103. Assad and his brother, should be brought, without any doubt at all,
    before the International Human Rights Tribunal. in the Hague, and
    accused and charged, of committing barbaric war crimes, against
    his own people.
    The evidence is clear and overwhelming.!!

  104. Michael of Boston writes:

    "Never mind that forensic, photographic, and legal experts have examined the data, questioned witnesses and found the evidence to be absolutely convincing."

    I'll wager you haven't read the report, Michael. If I'm correct, please read it. Then come back and tell us again about the authentication process.

  105. So Assad is not OK but anybody else in that administration is fine?
    Are we then to believe Assad committed all these horrible acts himself?

    I think we cannot take sides for anybody but the people of Syria.
    The war needs to cease no matter what.
    It is clearly not achieving anything but getting people killed and sowing even more hatred among all participants.

  106. Bob Rivers writes:

    "These photographs are merely another piece of unassailable evidence..."

    Really?

    Pick a photo, any photo, and tell me whether you can answer any of the following questions:

    1. What nationality is the person in the photo? If indeterminate, can you tell us what continent the person might have lived in, and tell us why you believe that?

    2. When was the photo taken? (Answers within 10 years of the actual date will be counted as correct – just tell us how you know you're within a decade of the correct date.)

    3. Where was the photo taken? (Answers within 10,000 miles of the actual location will be counted as correct – just tell us how you know you're within 10,000 miles of the actual location.)

    4. Was the person a supporter of Assad, an opponent of Assad, or can't you tell?

    5. Does anything in the photo indicate who mistreated the person? If so, what? If not, who do you think did it, and what makes you think that?

    6. Does anything in the photo indicate who took the picture?

    7. If this photo and thousands of others like it were sent to families of the victims, does it strike you as odd that none of those families has smuggled out a photo to prove this horrible crime against their loved one?

    8. If this photo and thousands of others like it were sent to families of the victims by Assad's people, does it strike you as odd that they'd pay professional photographers to document their crimes and then send the evidence to families of their victims?

  107. @ Thinker,
    If you question the motives of having these photos taken and displayed, these corpses look authentic and no doubt people had been tortured and killed. Whatever the reasons for their death, the cruelty alone is not justifiable.

  108. J. Von Hettlingen,

    Nobody's disputing that something cruel was done to human beings. But the question here is what should be done about that. The answer to that question requires answering some additional questions, such as: "Who did this?" Do you think it's important to answer that question before we start meting out punishment? If so, do you think we're in a position to answer that question, or even to take a baby step toward answering it? I highly recommend that you read this report; your comment suggests to me that you probably haven't.

  109. Someone's son, father, sister, brother has been tortured starved, killed and then photographed, and their brutal end captured and used for propaganda. Who can say with any certainty who is responsible for this?

    Inhuman acts were perpetrated on human beings. That is the only thing these photographs show. That they would be released now proves that we are not only capable of committing the most heinous crimes, but of using the human misery resulting from those crimes to further a political agenda.

    Are we all just grist for someone's mill? There is no humanity in any of this.

  110. This kind of treatment of human beings is commonplace throughout the Middle East, where nations routinely torture prisoners. How many people in the Middle East have their hands chopped off for stealing? How many people in the Middle East have their heads chopped off for worshiping the wrong prophet or being in the wrong sect? How many people in the Middle East build personal bombs for the purpose of killing or maiming innocent civilians? How many women in the Middle East are raped or murdered so that a man can maintain his "honor"? Until people and governments in the Middle East start respecting human rights and stop engaging in such horrible treatment of people, stories like this are the rare light on a common practice.

  111. You know, statistical answers to all those questions would be very useful. However, until you yourself have compiled them thoroughly, or can point to a reputable source who has, I would refrain from extrapolating to conclusions based only on your initial intuitive estimations of those numbers ("I feel like I have heard about this somewhere... so it must be common!") Not to say these actions do not take place, or to deny their atrocious nature, but categorically stating all "Middle Eastern" nations behave homogeneously evil does everyone a disservice.

  112. This situation, as an example of the darkest side of humanity, has nothing to do with geography and all about the insanity that drives some leaders and war criminals. Even some modest historical perspective would suggest that similar types of crimes against humanity have occurred across eastern and western civilizations across time. The true news story here, which frankly sadly isn't news, is the depravity of which humans are capable of.

  113. Well, yes, this is terrible. Everytime someone releaes a tranche of pictures from these countries it is terrible. The question is, what are we obligated to do about it. The answer is that we have no obligation at all. Who knows how many caches of similar photos are being held to outrage us in the future as if we are puppets on a string? Our interventions in these unfortunate lands have one outstanding characteristic. They have all failed.

  114. As humans and members of the world community, we indeed do have an obligation to respond. The inspectors detailed atrocities that one said are as systematic and horrific as seen in previous history, almost as if "you're looking at the scenes from the end of World War II in Auschwitz and Dachau." And that "it's been since Nuremberg that we've had this quantified, specific, systematic documentation of the deaths of human beings." (David Crane on NPR, 1/21/14) How can you say we have no obligation to respond?

  115. 2 questions:
    Under what circumstances can the United States sanction any permeation of the Syrian leadership?
    Where is the Arab League of Nations during this refugee disaster?

  116. Interesting how many people question the motivation and authenticity of the person who brought these pictures to light, especially given the vast majority who seem to think Edward Snowden is a saint and deserves a medal. When the person exposes the police state of the USA he is a hero, but when he delivers photo documentation proving war crimes he is immediately suspect. Double standard?

  117. If these claims are true, those in the Assad government should be held accountable. But it is hard to believe that Qatar is concerned about torture. Qatar and other Gulf States are funding rebel groups who are also killing and torturing civilians. The media and the Obama Administration turn more of a blind eye to the war crimes committed by the rebel/extremist groups.

  118. Leaving aside ideologically motivated and conspiratorial comments (e.g., falsified photographs, cunning international machinations responsible for initiating and maintating Syrian turmoil), there is a pragmatic matter on the table right now: an international "peace conference".

    Given that Syria is embroiled in a conflict that is tantamount to all-out civil and sectarian war, it's a given that the current regime will not be accepted as party to either an interim or final government. Either the warring parties can be left to their own devices to solve the problems (not likely, given the nature of the conflict and its extension into neighboring areas) or some internationally mediated solution needs to be crafted. To suggest that the US and others "stay out of it" is simply another way of stating that there is no role for diplomacy in conflict resolution.

  119. No surprise at all, Assad has always shown himself to be an amoral monster, capable of torturing and killing women and children without hesitation or shame.

    We could have prevented a lot of this, by doing the right thing and cratering Assad years ago. So some of this guilt is the international community's too, any nation that could have mitigated Assad's reign of terror but decided it was too much trouble.

    Honestly I cannot wait until Assad dies horribly, and I believe it is the only hope for Syria's future.

  120. Use the photo's at the Switzerland peace conference to drive home the insanity of humanity to all who attend. Without the shock of war, there will be no peace.

  121. This is not probabive. It looks like a Mossad manipulation to support
    al-Quaida. We need to stay out of Syria. We messed up Iraq and
    Afghanistan. One fact is undoubted: the rebels kill Christians and Assad
    does not.


  122. The world citizenry has been unfair to Syrian FOLKS for the last three years. The civilians have been abandoned by the 'west' as majority of them are from a religious denomination disliked by the icons at the helm. Syrians are quite secular though they have been stigmatized for taking help from Al Nusra front and extremists.

    Assad having committed genocide and war CRIMES against his own civilians is projected as a peace loving secularists and modernistic leader by his proponents in the 'west'. There is still no UN humanitarian aid corridor in Syria; civilians, men women children alike are being slaughtered, raped, tortured, mass murdered..six millions internally and externally displaced.

    Iran and Russia are QUITE complicit in this terrible blood bath carried out by Assad's military and deadly Shabiha. Obama administration has been invisible other than crossing redline rhetoric and raising eyebrows on the 18th CW attack carried out by Assad regime. AND US has been subdued by a shrewd Putin who was quick to capitalize on weak/ confused US foreign policy. Assad, the blue eyed despot, is definitely a winner in this CW deal with UN.

    However; this terrible LOSS of conscience on the part of the citizenry is quite regrettable and the Syrian tragedy will haunt the rest of the world for times to come!!!!

  123. Can you be a morally serious person when, faced with further evidence [admittedly unconfirmed in this specific case, but fitting with a widespread pattern of regime torture] of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Assad regime, your response is "what about US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan?"; "everyone is torturing everyone"; "why should we care?"; "it's none of our business". I would have to say no. To say such things is to reveal your basic contempt for international legal conventions against the most disgusting acts; and the absence of moral or intellectual capacity. You would excuse anything in order to turn the point back on the US for some of its corrupt and brutal practices. Torture is never something that should be wiped away with a contemptuous hand, and a reference to a past abuses by any country. It should be condemned for what it is-a war crime-on nothing but its own merit, and its practitioners should be prosecuted. All this relativizing is shameful--the US did this, did Syria get involved in our civil war, everyone does it...utterly meaningless apologizing for torturers and murderers. If you find yourself protecting the dignity of the Syrian regime because the US has been a bad actor in some cases you should take a long look in the mirror.

  124. What a nonsense about the Oval Office. Nobody is going to walk over there and confront our president.

    The photos, however, can be used in the Hague to get one or two Syrian official indicted and sent to prison some ten years from now.

    That's the reality of 2014.

  125. The Arab autocrats in the Gulf assembled, armed and delivered the armies of fanatical fundamentalist Sunni jihadists who tore Syria to pieces, and now they want to show us...pictures?

    Furthermore, they did it with American and Israeli connivance. This war has been about Iran all along, which means it is ultimately about Israel, which is why the political establishment here so desperately wants to be involved.

    I will not be waving the flag for military intervention in Syria if/when it comes.

    I'm thoroughly sick-and-tired of Washington's cynical Messianic pretensions.

  126. Quite remarkable the number of posts (with numerous positive recommendations from readers) that either:
    a. Question whether this torture was even committed by the Assad regime
    b. Suggest that all this evidence was fabricated by opponents of Assad
    c. Brush it off using arguments like: "all sides in the Syrian war are equally guilty", or "its the Middle East so every regime does this"....
    d. Dismiss it as being no worse than what the US did at Abu Ghraim or Guantanamo

    I can just imagine the posts and reader response if a similar article appeared about Israel torturing even one Arab prisoner; the outrage, condemnation of Israel, and calls for boycotts, sanctions and divestment would have been overwhelming.

    Just shows how distorted the moral compass is for a lot of NY Times readers.

  127. This is but one side of the horror. The other side is the atrocities committed by the Al Qaeda insurgents and their affiliates. This and all other picture (on both sides) is part of the propaganda wars by all the participants and their sponsors. Nothing new here.

  128. Bush Sr before he was president ran the CIA. How many murders do you think he authorized? Our country tortures, other countries torture. it's a part of war and a fact of life. And much of the torture and deaths are done in the name of religion, from Christian to Muslim, etc.

  129. Could it be a report sought and funded by a bunch of London lawyers stinks so bad that George W. Bush’s “yellow cake from Africa” lie seems like the 10 Commandments? Yeah… We buy it. We just don’t buy it as true.

  130. Our intelligence operations are not stupid or naive. The revelations of today have been known for awhile, a long while. Like with Hitler et all we have the continued ignoring of gross mega-atrocities because 'leaders' think 'if we just be nice to him, he will be nice to us'. They seem oblivious to the fact that the violators of human rights perspective is 'let's see how long I can string these suckers along'. So while these 'concerned, I have drawn a line in the sand' "leaders" fail to act, hundreds of thousands die. Where is the courage to act? "Leaders" are debating air raids and boots on the ground when they haven't even used the economic tools at their disposal. They naively believe that a friend of our avowed enemy is also a friend to us. Economic measures should include those who feed the abusers. How many must die before they are allowed to be free? Then there is the Ununited Nations...

  131. Thank goodness that bastion of democratic principles and freedom, Qatar, has provided us with this trove of data. Now we can arm the freedom loving rebels that have no contacts with outside countries or al qaeda and topple the dictator, following best practices learned in Iraq. A peace, stable democratic ally will arise from the ashes. Mission accomplished.

  132. And we've used Syria (re: Maher Arar, 2002) and other counries like Egypt as destinations for extraordinary renditions, ie. torture by proxy. OK if they do it for us I guess but a war crime if they do it rogue, ie. without benefitting the US.

  133. David Markun writes:

    "The article leaves unsaid how photos might enable a death certificate."

    Indeed the article does leave that unsaid, and with apparent good reason.

    If you read the report, you'll notice it says that "the cause of death in each case [as reported to the families] was either a 'heart attack' or 'breathing problems'..."

    Ask yourself this question:

    If the Syrian government is notifying a victim's family that a loved one died from a "heart attack" or "breathing problems," why in the world would the Syrian government choose to back up that claim with a sheaf of photographs showing that the victim was in fact starved, tortured and brutally murdered?

    Do obvious questions like this really not occur to those who simply accept the unsubstantiated assertions of Caesar at face value?

    To those who assert that the investigators interviewed many witnesses and performed all sorts of additional investigations:

    Read the report.

    The report makes clear that the investigators relied entirely on what Caesar told them and showed them. They talked to no one else period (other than a family member of Caesar, who didn't claim to know anything about the subject matter but assured them that Caesar was a great guy and so they should believe whatever he told them). They just took Caesar at his word, period.

    Those who recall "Curveball" (and a few others like him) from the pre-Iraq war days will recall that US investigators did actually try to verify his story. Not here.

  134. The endless horrors go on and on...
    My mother died the night before 9/11, and I remember seeing the smoke filled Manhattan skyline thinking we had been bombed.

    The marines in Lebanon; the Palestinians in those camps; the Bosnians, the Rwanda genocide, South Sudan, Syria !!! and countless thousands of more victims...

    Can we not all give peace a chance ?

  135. I'm surprised the crimes perpetrated by the al-Assad family haven't provoked the level of outrage one might fairly expect.

    That the al-Assads remained in power for all these decades by frequently resorting to torture and murder was hardly a secret there or anywhere else. Why it should raise controversy now suggests willful cupidity among those already well-informed, or should be, cupidity on a par with Captain Louis Renault's famous "I'm shocked, shocked to find gambling's going on in here" declaration in the movie "Casablanca".

    The current war -- which isn't "civil" but tribal, sectarian and ethnic -- erupted as a counterattack against widespread terrorist attacks on the Sunni Arab population launched by the Shahiba, a Shiite-Alawite militia army controlled by the al-Assad family. They deliberately started the war to retain power; their reaction to waves of civil unrest that we in the West collectively call the "Arab Spring". Their minions' torturing and murdering captured protestors, including children, ignited the conflagration.

    The state once called "Syria" is dead, shattered beyond recognition or reconstruction. The conflict now raging will only end after the al-Assad family is driven from the region and Syrian territory is divided into sectarian and ethnic cantons, the cease-fire between them imposed and maintained by a multi-national U.N. peacekeeping force operating under a U.N. mandate, as in Bosnia-Herzegovina. All other proposals are mere pipe-dreams.

  136. Those who haven't read the report really should do so.

    Even if you accept its conclusions, one fact is indisputable, and a second observation probably will strike you as correct.

    FACT:

    The report doesn't even claim to have a source other than Caesar, nor do the report's authors claim to have conducted any independent investigation to corroborate Caesar's story. If Caesar is telling the truth, the Syrian government committed horrible crimes. If Caesar isn't telling the truth, this report contains no evidence at all that the Syrian government committed these horrible crimes. Simple as that: It depends entirely on Caesar's credibility, and the report's authors don't even claim to have tried to verify what he claims.

    OBSERVATION:

    Though the report is in English, it appears to have been written by someone for whom English is not his/her native tongue or who probably finished his/her formal education before graduating from college. This is merely my observation – speculation, I'll concede – but I suspect that many people who read the report will agree with me about this. For those who don't agree and are themselves lawyers, at least ask yourself this question: If you were in a position of responsibility at the London law firm that reportedly produced this report, would you let something like this go out under your firm's name, knowing that it will be published and read all over the world? Or would you clean up the prose a bit before sending it out?

  137. The purpose of the report was to determine/evaluate the credibility of "Caesar" and the documentary evidence he provided (i.e., 55,000 photos of alleged atrocities committed by the Assad regime against Syrian civilians in detention.) The inquiry team which include experienced war crimes prosecutors and forensic investigators concluded that "Caesar" was credible and that he presented clear and convincing evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity that could be brought in a court of law. Your condescending critique of the prose is a red herring.

  138. As this has originated from the 'rebel' opposition you can say 100% fabrication like all the other fabricated atrocities by the Syrian Government they have posted. Only a few days ago the so called rebel exiled leader posted a photo of two graves with an apparent 10 year old orphaned boy lying between the two supposed graves of his parents. Les than a few hours later an Egyptian artist said this was an installation of his with nothing at all to do with the Syrian war and the boy was his nephew.

  139. This is not on us or US. We do not need to get involved to the hilt in yet another MidEast mess. Until the various religious and political entities can figure out how to tolerate each other it is senseless to interfere.

  140. As Jamie Dettmer concluded in an article that appeared in The Daily Beast:

    "The best arrangement likely to come out of Geneva is some agreement on localized ceasefires and access for international agencies to supply relief aid to the hardest-hit areas. Such an agreement would allow Assad to portray himself as a humanitarian—quite the opposite of the leader of a regime that was accused this week of resorting to the horrific systematic torture and killing of an estimated 11,000 prisoners. And it would also allow the West to feel it is doing something to end the three years that have shaken the world."

    Here is the link to his article: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/22/why-geneva-2-won-t-stop...

  141. I'm sure the various US based academic groups are moving swiftly to proceed with their proposed boycotts of Israelis. Nothing to see in Syria--just move on.

  142. We need to stop intervening in the affairs of every other country and start cleaning up our own act.