Warning: This site contains images and graphic descriptions of extreme violence and/or its effects. It's not as bad as it could be, but is meant to be shocking. Readers should be 18+ or a mature 17 or so. There is also some foul language occasionally, and potential for general upsetting of comforting conventional wisdom. Please view with discretion.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Fail "Caesar," Part 9: Prior Documentation of Torture

Fail "Caesar," part 9 

Prior Documentation of Torture
June 11, 2016
edits June 12

There are probably far too many possible parallels to cover all, but I've chosen one especially interesting and perhaps telling instance to start with. There may, and may well not, be some others I take the time to feature.

Lashing a Kid in Mleha
One common feature of the "Caesar photos" is serious lashing abuse with cables (or "tramlines") - something either side and perhaps both sides might be doing. But in this case where it's clearly said to be by the regime, it doesn't appear to be true. So is it true with the photo victims?

This allegation and contrary evidence come, as they often do, from the same rebel video -on Youtube, posted as +18 Syria| Barbarian Torture of a Young Man by Regime Forces in Suburban Damascus 15/4/2013 (by channel Bashar Assad Crimes Archive 3) The victim is a boy or young man, aged maybe 17-19 or so, a bit slender but decently-built for his age, but here seeming like a complete weakling. He's first seen, still in great pain, walking unsteadily into the clinic, helped by one man as another films and tells us this is Mleha, western Ghouta.

Al-Maliha on Wikimapia is given as part of East Ghouta, but on the western edge, south of Ain Tarma and next to Christian-majority Jaramana. Inside the clinical blame chamber, the young man says he was detained by security forces at Ma'araba checkpoint (location unclear), as he was coming from the airport (south of Mleha) so headed north, past (FWIW) Hatite at-Turkuman area. He was apparently on his way home from somewhere; his ID showed he was from Jobar (a bit to the north). He tells the activists his place or origin is the sole reason for the beating they gave him (this is a common theme in rebel propaganda).

It was a severe beating, done, he says, with electrical cables. I quick count at least 30 lashes, it might be 40 is that's a real standard here, for whoever. Each stroke ruptured tissue - no light beating this - their crossing paths left red and black mass damage all over his back. There's also  unseen damage to his chest he moans over ("oooh, my chest"). 40 lashes on each side, we hope not.

Here's what's more than just odd - the implied narrative, considering what he says and what we see together. He was stopped by organized (regime) thugs and severely beaten. Then in very quick order he was released by them, and somehow came upon a kindly group of different but also organized men, the kind who often wear leather coats and get around on motorcycles, and don't look overtly Jihadist. In this case, they have their own media team and a quasi-medical blame chamber. They might even have their own checkpoints around!

The kind of trauma this boy was just put through will cause a sort of shock that causes a person to go weak like we see here, for a short time afterwards. (precise science, maybe later...) For a thin person like this, it might last a bit longer than usual. Did he choose to come here immediately after the checkpoint, still in pain and shock, to document the crime immediately? Before he could even bear to move, or walk steadily on his own, did he walk here, or try to sit down in the car seat and drive in this state? How long was the journey? 

And how long does that shock last? That's unclear at the moment, but 5-10 minutes seems reasonable. When the boy stumbles over his name (it's not shared in the video), the cameraman tells him five minutes will settle his nerves to talk.  He seems to be an expert in recovery time from just this abuse. Does he encounter it often, in his line of work? He thinks it's (length of journey) plus another 5 minutes. That's most consistent with a journey of close to zero minutes.

In at least one spot, the boy's skin is broken - still wet, not even scabbing over. This and the fresh shock at least strongly suggest he was just then beaten, maybe one minute before the video starts - obviously by these kindly helpers or their friends, not by distant "regime thugs." And he says what they would want him to say, true or not. This is standard, of course  . "Regime thugs" did it, say activists with video, and the just-tortured or just-killed victims they can show you always agree, either silently or in pained and timid words as happened here.

The area and time of this dubious incident are possibly relevant to understanding what the Caesar photos show. This is similar lashing to that seen in the photos from deeper inside the regime prison system (as it's been sold). Damascus suburbs in 2013 is when masses of apparently unidentified corpse poured through hospital 601 to be documented by the soon-to-defect "Caesar" - accelerating massively in the months leading up to Caesar's defection and the Ghouta alleged sarin attack (August 20 and 21, respectively).  Analysis says the bulk of his 11,000 implied victims came in at an average rate of about 1,000 per month up to August. These were tortured, starved, and killed, usually without any visible wound to explain it - instead, there are signs of chemical exposure.
The bottom image at right is a "Caesar" photo victim, #1237 from branch 227, as labeled by the killers, in the February, 2013 folder. * 227-1237 was lashed about as severley, on the front, with a similar kind of cables (at least 33 lashes pointed to here, from the Carter-Ruck report). His unseen back might also be lashed up, inverse of the kid above - may be lashed on both sides. 1237 also may have also suffered some chemical exposure, as with chlorine, that additionally burned the lash marks. This gassing, as with most, was probably the cause of death.
* compare to full body shot with numbers from SAFMCD video, matching #s and details on this SAFMCD face shot with date indicated.

Anyway, they would say 1237 was taken, maybe at a checkpoint, detained and  abused, in part just like the lashed kid around the same time and place they had this story about ...

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