Human Rights Watch – I never made it to the report
I was too busy reading the endless contradictions, disclaimers
Human Rights Watch has levelled serious allegations against Israel of late. I use the word 'allegations' not lightly, because frankly looking through their recent report on Lebanon one finds some truly startling things, and I am not talking about the killing of civilians.
I'm not even going to pretend, I'm going to selectively quote from the report picking and choosing what I DEEM IMPORTANT. How can I do this you may ask yourself!? Won't this be riddled with bias, a construct of my own agenda, it surely will – but don't be surprised to learn this is EXACTLY what Human Rights Watch does, it levels serious accusations against Israel based on selective 'reports', so called eye witness accounts miles from the actual events in many cases, a sort of he said / she said supposedly conducted by 'experts'.
In reality these MANY experts consist of wait for it now.. TWO PEOPLE, who over the course of TWO DAYS traveled to the South of Lebanon, and relied for the remainder on 'stories' told to them by 'witnesses' in Beirut.. This reminds me of the time I met an old man while hitchhiking to new Orleans in the summer of 76, of course I may be mistaken since I was two years old in '76, and while I've been to New Orleans I was there in actuality a few years ago, never did any hitchhiking more like drinking & playing at Harrah's but its the story that matters after all right!?
"This report is based on research conducted in Beirut, Qana, Srifa, and Tyre, Lebanon, from July 12 to August 1, 2006, by Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, and Nadim Houry, Lebanon and Syria researcher in the Middle East Division of Human Rights Watch."
In fairness we should note that these eye witness accounts (deemed by courts of law as: "inherently unreliable" under normal circumstances) are dubious to say the least, they are from Hezbollah supporters asked to report about Hezbollah activity. This might be troubling for any rational sane individual when one considers the fact that Hezbollah means 'Party of God' and mothers routinely speak of 'sacrificing their sons & husbands' to the 'cause', but I digress as the report speaks for itself..
Some 'Quotes' from the first three pages:
Contains only a map of Northern Israel / South Lebanon map titled: "IDF Attacks with civilian deaths in this report", of note no strikes on Israel are denoted, this is not a report on all strikes affecting civilians, only those carried out by Israel on Lebanon. Already my faith in things is strengthened as it is clear we are going to be even handed here, the basis of any good Human Rights organization since all Humans have equal rights, but for the purpose of THIS report Israeli civilians are second class citizens, I take it another report will be issued for them, in another life.. I sure hope they go into greater depth than this report does, or else Israeli civilians will likely have to keep relying on the IDF to protect them as HRW won't get it done..
Page 2: Titled Summary (My selective quotes follow)
Since the start of the conflict, Israeli forces have consistently launched artillery and air attacks with limited or dubious military gain but excessive civilian cost.
This statement is not footnoted, I trust that HRW has interviewed experts of all types outside the organization to discuss the military gain of IDF strikes, then again I've been known to put my trust in shady characters before.. Don't expect much in the way of documented facts in this report, it's mostly all opinion, your view is as good as mine, which is as good as that of a Hezbollah supporter, are you getting a clearer picture? Let's keep on it.. That wide ranging statement is the conclusion of I guess our two 'Humanitarian Experts' above!? I'm glad they came to these conclusions, just imagine – Israel relies on multi-million dollar satellites, thousands of trained intelligence officers, a chain of command, tens of thousands of soldiers, hundreds of millions of dollars to carry out these targets & dubious attacks, weigh all that against the opinion of Peter & Nadim and the absurdity of this report starts to come into focus..
The Israeli government claims that it targets only Hezbollah, and that fighters from the group are using civilians as human shields, thereby placing them at risk. Human Rights Watch found no cases in which Hezbollah deliberately used civilians as shields to protect them from retaliatory IDF attack. Hezbollah occasionally did store weapons in or near civilian homes and fighters placed rocket launchers within populated areas or near U.N. observers, which are serious violations of the laws of war because they violate the duty to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties.
Other than the fact that this statement contradicts itself entirely, one half negating the other this is very balanced stuff.. Again, none of these statements are documented in this 'summary'. We have a claim from the Israeli Government, a democratic institution with full rights for all, a supreme court, the rule of law, and then the claims of I am not sure who, as it is not documented, but thrown in I take it for 'balance'. I guess because they found no evidence of a Hezbollah man yelling "Don't attack me, I've got this Hezbollah supporting civilian here with me and I'm using him as a Human Shield!!" this makes the statement truthful.. The storage & launching of rockets from homes was not deliberate, it was an honest mistake. 'Oh you mean this isn't a missile silo and this isn't a village!? I didn't know, pack it up boys, this is actually a village and these are private homes, let's get these katyushas wrapped and packed pronto!'
By consistently failing to distinguish between combatants and civilians, Israel has violated one of the most fundamental tenets of the laws of war: the duty to carry out attacks on only military targets. The pattern of attacks during the Israeli offensive in Lebanon suggests that the failures cannot be explained or dismissed as mere accidents; the extent of the pattern and the seriousness of the consequences indicate the commission of war crimes.
Note how HRW states only ISRAEL has failed to distinguish between civilians & combatants here, & that in its OPINION, the patterns of the cases they 'investigated' (no detail yet on these investigations) INDICATE the commission of war crimes. An accusation of a War Crime is a fairly serious thing, I hope they produce evidence of this but don't hold your breath.. Also may I remind that these investigations & patterns were deduced by TWO people in their TWO days down in South Beirut. I cetainly hope the people who make Viagra are a little more 'all encompassing' when looking for 'their patterns in studies' and such, and are not relying on all of two people like a Janitor and and electrician before marketing their wonder drugs..
So far we are talking about 'patterns' where HRW says there was 'a failure to distinguish between combatants & civilians', it is note worthy that in a paragraph just above they stated for the record: "Hezbollah occasionally did store weapons in or near civilian homes and fighters placed rocket launchers within populated areas or near U.N. observers". Which is it, Israel failing to distinguish, or Hezbollah using civilian areas for combat!? Or Both!? You decide, but HRW is singling out only Israel for the big bad war crime allegation in this paragraph.. I'm only on the 1st page of texts here, you can see how this became tedious quickly, this reads like a 6 year old's 'choose your own adventure fantasy' book
This report is based on extensive on-the-ground research (by two people – Ed) in Lebanon. Since the start of hostilities, Human Rights Watch has interviewed victims and witnesses of attacks in one-on-one settings, conducted on-site inspections (when security allowed), and collected information from hospitals, humanitarian groups, and government agencies. Human Rights Watch also conducted research in Israel, inspecting the IDF's use of weapons and discussing the conduct of forces with IDF officials. The research was extensive, but given the ongoing war and the scope of the bombings, Human Rights Watch does not claim that the findings are comprehensive (you think!? At last they admit it – Ed); further investigation is required to document the war's complete impact on civilians and to assess the full scope of the IDF's compliance with and disregard for international humanitarian law (Send the lone ranger up there 'Peter' back out, we need to investigate some more!)
The 'on the ground research' they are admitting was not really conducted at the scenes of attacks in most cases, but at hospitals and later on from eye witnesses & government agencies (the same agencies who moved casualty figures violently around daily up and down by hundreds.) Take note of the 'on site inspections where security allowed them', because they will reveal later the extent of the BIG site inspections and its a WHOPPER, there were no trenches or obvious signs of military Hezbollah activity. So I'm guessing it is common for terrorists to build trenches around the civilian homes they occupy and use for storing weapons & launching rockets etc in Lebanon. I don't know, honestly I'm asking you? "There are NO trenches here, move along, NOTHING to see here.."
While not the focus of this report, Human Rights Watch has separately and simultaneously documented violations of international humanitarian law by Hezbollah, including a pattern of attacks that amount to war crimes.
Sure, why focus on this? In fact let's just state it here and forget the whole thing for the purpose of this report.. What do you know! That's exactly what HRW does! Who could have guessed?
You know what? On second thought this is the 1st page of text in 8 long rambling pages of this tiresome one sided faux research passed off as authoritative important human rights stuff which is being used as the basis of 'War Crimes' allegations and frankly this pile of camel dung is not worth much more of my time..
I'm sorry civilians died, I'm sorry Hezbollah used the south of Lebanon as its terror playground, I saw plenty of footage of rockets firing into the sky from villages, buildings, civilian homes on TV. I saw plenty of footage of Hezbollah men dressed like you & me with machine guns and masks, I'm not retarded but this study certainly assumes I am.. I'm guessing they expect the same of you.
Be careful whom you trust, personally I trust HRW now as much as I trust Hezbollah & its supporters, which is not very much.
If you want to read, shape your views on this complicated issue by the 'eye witness accounts' of two people interviewing Hezbollah supporters in 'most cases' miles and miles away from the actual scene of events, in a war now famous for its propaganda nature go right ahead. Dear Mr. Roth, stop wasting our time please. I saw you on TV and your one sided view of reality spoke volumes more than this study - I then went to check things out for myself..
Go read it, if you can bother. Don't be surprised when the UN issues sweeping allegations & conclusions, another report in which it will be buried somewhere within appendix D of chapter V - that all facts & research was based on the comprehensive HRW report from so & so on so and so date.. Um huh, sure.
Daled Amos has looked at HRW before, especially in regards to their other reports like the Gaza shelling incident which involved some especially two faced statements in my opinion by another one of their 'experts'. I recommend his blog a lot more than I recommend HR-Watch's tedium.
My father asked me a poignant question.. 'Which organization? Who's watching Human Rights Watch!?' I don't know, but someone better start, because what I've seen so far is a one sided propagandists dream come true in my eyes.