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Friday, March 13, 2015

Fail Caesar Part 1: Protecting his Identity - From Whom?

November 8, 2014
(last edits Nov. 9) 

<- Fail Caesar: Exposing the Anti-Syria Photo Propaganda {Masterlist}

Part 1: Protecting his Identity - From Whom? 
I'll start with what I wish had been the first thing to occur to me - the phony "precautions" taken to protect the defector's identity. It's said the code-name and more were to protect "Caesar" and his family from retribution. However, it can be easily shown that this fundamental reason is nonsense, that none of it would protect him or his kin if his given back story is true. Therefore, there must be some other reason so much is kept secret - from almost everyone but the Syrian government - and/or, "Caesar" is not who he claims to be at all.

The code-name is the most obvious manifestation of this supposed fear. As the January Carter-Ruck report explains, the European "investigators" hired by Qatar were the ones who thought up the need, and the strange name to fill it. "This witness who defected from Syria and who had been working for the Syrian government was given the codename “Caesar” by the inquiry team to protect the witness and members of his family." (report, p. 13 - CNN PDF link - Guardian PDF link) As a later Newsweek article put it, he "goes by a code name for fear that he or his family will be targeted..."

His most immediiate family is apparently safe - they were smuggled out just behind him, as CNN reported at the start:
"When Caesar became concerned for his safety, his contacts in the Syrian opposition to whom he had leaked the photos arranged for him and his family to be smuggled out of Syria. The lawyers have remained mum on how that was done, but the report says the process took four months, and that Caesar left the country before his family. ... It is unclear where Caesar and his family are currently living; the lawyers say only that they carried out their investigation in the Middle East."
Various sources suggest this was in the fall, after his last photos sometime in August, and before the State Department heard about them in November. As for how he covered up his sudden disappearance, Investigator and anti-Assad activist David Crane explained "Caesar" and opposition helpers faked his death and staged a funeral so, as far as Assad should know, the guy died and could be forgotten. Crane gushed to Reuters in April how “Caesar’s a hero," with an escape story that could be "a Hollywood movie someday." He explained the opposition "killed him and they told his family they killed him and they had a funeral while he’s being extracted. Then the family was exfiltrated out and reunited with Caesar.”

An October 31 New York Times report quotes a now-dispirited "Caesar" saying “I have risked my life and the life of my immediate family, and even exposed my relatives to extreme danger, in order to stop the systematic torture." By now, the first two risks are minimal, but there's still the distant family left behind. The "Assad regime" won't be able to use the name "Caesar" to track them down, so they'll be safe, we're to believe.

However, if the defector's story is true as widely presumed, his former employers will know exactly who he is anyway. The man says he's "a senior sergeant in Syria’s Army who spent 13 years working as a forensic photographer," as CNN reported Crane letting slip. He was in 2011 set to documenting executed prisoners, he says, and took thousands of photos before he suddenly died around August, 2013, and had his family vanish shortly after.

Then, someone claiming to be a body photographer of 13 years who just faked his death, and smuggled out his family, along with copies of the same photos that guy had taken, emerges quite alive in the West, lobbying for the government's overthrow.

There can hardly be any more than one, and quite possibly zero, people in Syria fitting this complex, self-proclaimed description. The government of that country is one of the few parties on the planet that will already know all about that guy, if there is one. No deduction is needed, and no hiding is possible in that scenario (the one we've been provided with). Yet Caesar's supporter's would have us believe the pool of people fitting that bill  - a pool that should be approximately one person deep - is somehow big enough to hide their hero in.

It's like this:
Okay? Now everyone, don't let a single clue slip to let them "figure out" the name under the black box here. They have the original of every ID card ever issued to the guy, for just one example.

Clearly, the fake name can offer none of the protection it claims. Either the team insisting on this precaution thought it would help (they're idiots) or they had another reason for the secrecy. It might be just to create an impression of danger (that falls apart on proper moment's reflection), or there's some other class of people they're trying to hide his identity from.

Let's consider the other elaborate and ridiculous measures claiming the same cloak-and-dagger motive. In his rare public appearances, "Caesar" only speaks in whispers to an interpreter who vocalizes for him. It's apparently feared that his voice waves, if published, will help "Assad" identify the defector. His face is never shown, nor his hair or hands, or any distinguishing features, for the same reason; any little clue might help decide which of the body photographers that faked their death in fall 2013 he is.

In the House chamber he was in that blue hoodie to hide it all. However, the allowed photographs from behind did let slip his basic size and stature, which could help assassins narrow down their target. Out of caution or sarcasm, I've censored his blue-clad form at right, along with a few other things for good measure. Interpreter, hidden - eyes that might have eyeglasses that might reflect a view of his front side, also obscured. Some bars: just for fun.

Now recall the core issue driving this shady "Caesar" project is the photos of those Syrian people brutalized by their own government. The "intricate" numbers used are supposed to prove the story "Caesar" has stapled on. But oddly, in almost all released photographs, all identifying facial features and victim ID numbers are blurred out or black-boxed. Even this is said to be for the hero's safety. CNN reported how "those numbers are obscured in the report released to CNN to protect "Caesar's" identity and to hide the location of the military hospital where the photos were taken." This can only logically mean that his identifty could be narrowed down by which bodies he pictured and where that was.

But again, there's nothing to even deduce from any clues - they would already know just who he is, and they'd know just where they had him working. Again, there may well be a different reason Team Caesar decided so much had to be hidden in these photos.

The images were not lessened to obscure the gore; our seeing that is the main point. Rather, identifying facial features and traceable case numbers (or other writing on cards and flesh) is what's lost. This could, for example, prevent some Syrian citizen from recognizing one of these published photos as showing a son, uncle, or brother. It could be bad if they provided case details to prove he was killed some other way than the "regime prison" alleged. Picture metadata could also help set the informational context, and that too was lost, in compression to fit on a thumb drives, the defector says. But do note that loss has the same effect - details that could solidify the case are hidden, leaving only the word of "Caesar" to explain what the pictures themselves do not.

The personal details of the man with that word are likewise hidden from the global public and from the powers he's been lobbying. The logic deficiency of his "precautions" should be obvious to any credible investigator, especially anyone who helped him think out and concoct the unexplained secrecy. Syria would already know, but the Western "Friends of Syria" are kept in the dark over who's really under that hood. But like they have done with the likes of "Nayirah," "Curveball," and other "credible" witnesses pushing for war, they all seem happy to blindfold themselves to the obvious idiocy and play along with what they know the master script demands anyway. We pride ourselves on catching deceptions like this, but always sometime after it's "unfortunately too late"to prevent the aggression it was designed to justify.

Especially considering those witness precedents, one theory that could explain this all: there is no defected photographer, just a trove of photos found on a government computer rebel forces stole during a raid on a Health Department facility (killed two guards, four staff members missing, for example). The photos, at least, were traded vis an intermediary to the Qatari royal family for a bunch of cash and a truckload of weapons. The man portraying "Caesar" on the project's road show portion is a prince of the royal family, recognizable and hence never seen. I have no specific evidence to support this exact storyline, but it does seem more likely to be true than it should. Doesn't it?


  1. Good and useful article. Haven't your blog got a Facebook page for following it?

    1. There is a page! It doesn't get filled in totally but: CIWCL on Facebook. Also be sure to see the ACLOS wiki and maybe the CIWCL website.


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