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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Upside-Down Terrorist Crimes on Display in Geneva?

Fail Caesar Part 8: 
Upside-Down Terrorist Crimes on Display in Geneva?
April 9, 2016
(last edits April 10)

This article is modified from a forthcoming report: Do the Caesar Photos Show Rebel Crimes in Syria? This preview raises a few interrelated points I'd like people to see before 'peace talks' in Geneva resume this week. Even though, no sooner had I put this up, than Jaish al-Islam took credit for a chemical weapons attack in Aleppo, spurring calls for their political leader to be permanently barred from negotiations (emerging on RT to start)

On the verge of 'peace talks' in Geneva in late March, 2016, the Caesar photos were put on display there, to help clarify why the Syrian government – one party to the talks - had to go. The exhibit was hosted by the Swiss Press Club, at a site near the Palace of Nations where diplomats swarm.   UK Special Representative for Syria Gareth Bayley spoke there, saying “The Caesar photos are compelling evidence, brutally and forensically documented, of the Assad regime's calculated widespread attack on the Syrian people,” adding that “accountability must be central to a settlement in Syria.” A woman presenter, claiming to be a former prisoner in this system, “told a hushed room full of journalists and diplomats that she had a message to those at the Palace of Nations,” MiddleEastEye reports, “from her experience “under the criminal Assad regime”.” Exhibition organizer Yahya Al Aridhi said the victims were Syrians, Jordanians and Palestinians killed in “a non-stop Holocaust in Syria” committed by its government.

But the photos may actually show a genocidal murder spree by Islamist opposition fighters against their own captive enemies. The photo displayed at right (Photograph: Philippe Desmazes/ AFP/ Getty Images, via The Guardian) is placed upside-down, which might in itself be interesting. This photo depicts alleged detainee #63, as listed, from small-time branch 248, from the July 27, 2013 folder. Here in Geneva, they've blurred: his eyes, numbers on a card and on his chest, and his left forearm.
This teenage boy is better seen in several fuller photos in a gallery for child victims published by Zaman al-Wasl. The same one is shown here, right-side-up. Between all these, we can see he was starved, suffered mild neck burns but no evident body torture, and had his eyes damaged – they seem raw but present. He has a little blood or orange fluid from the nose.

The photo has clearly been altered in a paint program, which is unusual but not not unprecedented. It seems this is usually done to clarify a number, but this paints over and changes both the hospital and detainee numbers. The hospital number (bottom) is now 4450/b. The top probably matched the chest writing before, which says he's #62 from 248. And stranger yet, before that his body had said unclear number, for branch 215. This was partly washed off and overwritten, but still faintly visible (a simplified 3 at the end, and the 215, are fairly clear - see below). And it seems like his forehead, coated with a thin layer of soot or dirt, had its identifying tape removed along the way.

The original number – on tape or on the body - is supposedly written at the MI branch prison. But they wouldn't do the correction there, unless they briefly forgot which branch they worked for. That's unlikely, so it seems to be Caesar who knew better and corrected them, and then corrected himself later. (see FC5 who's doing the writing?)

Or perhaps he corrected himself twice. The following graphic draws on further views of the same boy in the Zaman al-Wasl photo gallery. These include the body next to his, starved to almost the same exact degree and with eye damage, but by a different division, and left more of a purple color. By number and face, that's 215-3879 as listed by SAFMCD, with the 215 left off here and that 9 looking strange. Comparing this to the boy's traces, I think they were 215-3871 and 215-3873 (see graphic, lower middle – gold writing is offset, original marks are to the left and a bit above).

It's really hard to say just what happened here, let alone why. But having such questions lying around is certainly not a good sign. However sloppy the work, who's calls did Caesar alter here, and based on what? How quickly does that ink dry? And why does the blamed branch seems so flexible and arbitrary? It doesn't seem to matter just who killed him, so long as it was Mukhabarat.

Note for holocaust/genocide-watchers: the top photo shows the the boy 248-63 has on his left forearm a clear curved sword tattoo usually taken as meaning he was Shi'ite, (lower right corner above) with unclear writing above it. The older victim may have a small simplified sword on his left arm. Was this the regime's 'kill the starved Shi'ite prisoners day' at both 215 and 248 branches? There are several other cases of Shia-suggestive tattoos, besides Alawi and Christian and various clues the captives were partly captured soldiers of the SAA or allied militias, as the report will explain (for now see FC6).

But the boy's telltale tattoo is blurred away in Geneva, along with his mess of conflicting “Mukhabarat prisoner ID numbers.” It didn't matter just who killed him, so long as it was someone inside “the criminal regime.”

Sitting atop the possibly misdirected photo furor and seeking “accountability” is the US-Saudi-backed opposition group, the High Negotiating Committee (HNC), who made the call to show the Caesar photos there, perhaps to influence negotiations. As the Guardian reported:
The High Negotiating Committee has so far failed to lift the issue of political detainees to the same level of importance as humanitarian access. To underline their position, the opposition exhibited a selection of the “Caesar” photographs – images of hundreds [sic] of detainees held in Syrian jails that were smuggled out Syria in 2013. The event was attended by many western envoys in a show of solidarity.
And sitting atop the HNC as it leverages this dubious evidence is their chief negotiator Mohammed Alloush (right, using a photo of suffering to make a point). He has promised “we will consider the resumption of negotiations for an effective transfer of power,” as soon as “the United States is able to force [the Syrian government] to stop the bombing, free prisoners and allow the entry of aid” (in other words, once foreign military intervention finally tips the balance in their favor). He earlier dictated, also from Geneva, that “the transitional period should start with the fall, or death, of Bashar al-Assad” and “those with blood on their hands can have no part in a reconstituted Syrian army,” or likely in much of anything.

Syria is not prepared to negotiate with a leader of a terrorist group currently barred from talks anyway. Alloush is a proud and founding member of Jaish al-Islam (JaI, Army of Islam, logo at right), and a close relative of recently-killed JaI leader Zahran Alloush (reportedly his brother, or cousin, and/or brother-in-law – reports conflict).

Based in Douma, about 10km northeast of Damascus, Jaish al-Islam is a leading faction within the Syrian Islamic Front, pursuing a Wahabbi-inspired Islamism for Syria, and is saddled with a slew of of credibly alleged crimes including the sectarian beheading massacre in Adra, in December, 2013 (partly detailed in a longer article here). Zahran Alloush in his time he promoted Islamism, denounced democracy and secularism, admired Osama bin Laden, and often worked with Syria's al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra in a “brotherly” way.

He advocated Sunni supremacy and genocide against Alawi and Shia citizens, vowing “the mujahedin of Sham (Damascus/Syria/Levant)” would “crush the heads” of the “enemies of God” (people of the Shia and Alawi faiths, and the Persians/Iranian ethnic group). He promised his holy warriors would “wash the filth” of Shi'ism from Syria “forever, if Allah wills it,” and promised to re-establish the ancient Umayyid Caliphate (see Landis, Alloush himself on video).

As far as we know, Jaish al-Islam committed the murders shown in the Caesar photos. This isn't proven, but the report will explain some compelling evidence I've discovered that they in fact are to blame. Zahran promised the "enemies of God" that they would "taste “the evil of torture in this world before Allah will make you taste it on the Day of Resurrection.” At right are two more victims from a starved-Shia-killing day, 215-3669 (cropped) from the 7-7-2013 folder, and 215-3670 (strangely, listed by SAFMCD as 227-3670, way out of their usual sequence but also dated 7-7 - see the shoulder scars and patch of light on the collarbone).

Also, JaI wants to help overthrow Syria's government. They're formally designated as a terrorist group only by Syria, Iran, Russia, and Egypt, while enjoying active support from Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and ambivalence from allies of those nations; they're considered part of the “moderate Islamist” alternative "to both Assad and ISIS" sponsored by the West and the Gulf monarchies.

JaI's wikipedia page lists Zahran's close relative and fellow thinker Mohammed Alloush as their current “political leader.” Gulf News says he studied Islamic law, Islamic banking, and marketing, and started with Zahran's JaI in 2012 (then called Liwa al-Islam) founding "underground cells" in Douma. Note: the Caesar photo marketed massacre started slow in late 2011, and only came in heavy from November, 2012 and forward, about 1,000 per month on average. Now he's in Geneva pushing for “accountability” and deciding who is “the terrorist” in Syria. He's doing that sitting on a throne of accusations, including these thousands of photos of people like 248-63, 215-3669, 3670, and 3879, as labeled - probably by their killers. These are victims of a massive crime that Alloush himself might know all about, from the inside.


  1. This seems credible and important. Sharp observations and presentation. Is there more evidence connecting Alloush to these killings?

    1. Hey, Rick. I said there is, so there is. It's not 100%, smoking gun, and the best part is sort of complicated... will be in the report.

  2. Adam,
    Before you publish your report, you’re certainly going to want to review the New Yorker piece by Ben Taub, dated Apr18.


    He doesn’t get to Caesar until late in the article but the entire article is really an assertion of how those bodies came to be.

    I don’t know Ben Taub or his work, but this smells like an Israeli hit-job timed for the Geneva talks. When he says: “In the early hours of August 21st, the Syrian government launched rockets carrying sarin gas into densely populated neighborhoods in Damascus, killing more than fourteen hundred people.” I know he is blowing bullshit, just how much I can’t tell. You’ll be the expert on that.

    He specifically discusses Caesar body #23 – 13yo Hamza al-Khateeb. Tortured to death in detention. His penis cut off. 6 images show torture and penis missing. “In every picture, there is a bloodstained note card bearing the number twenty-three.”

    You’ve got some real BS or some real powerful stuff in this article.

    1. Hey, thanks. I've been swamped, only skimmed this thing so far. Seems like powerful BS, though I don't know much about the documents part. I'll be adding as little as possible from this to the report, but probably something. I agree it's time to fuck with negotiations.

      FTR, Hamza isn't a Cesar photos victim, just the only other example I have for comparison. The photos I've seen have a card numbered 23 (prob. from a disfferent system there in Deraa), one tiny blood-spot on the edge (he was bloody) and his crotch area is blurred but doesn't seem very red (inconclusive). Official autopsy said only gunshots, no torture cuts at that time. They must have done it and not admitted it or tried to explain it away. Or, if it happened, I suspect it was done after, by some psycho wanting to blame Assad. Does this jack-ass say he was 13? And says he saw the photos? He's clearly full-gown adult-size, probably 18. Autopsy is more correct - a plump young man in his second decade (vague - 10-19)

    2. related: PBS

    3. Yeah, this thing is a steaming pile. Forensic report of 55,000 photos of 11,000 bodies leaked, and it's the same place he says he was, but Hamada was arranged to say it first, so it's all sooper credible jibber-jabber. It'll fall apart badly in FC9, ASAP.

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  4. I wouldn't relied on claimed photo author. Claimed videos or photos are sometimes claimed by observing citizen, and real source is deep under the dust of myths. Cesar can be winner of such myth, and adding to that even voiceless.

    My idea for photoshoping is, that some local body had a quarrel with community commander, about source of photos and true locality of crime scene, so that discussions got armed by guessing true numbers.

    2) Maybe some paranoic concluded true photo as photoshoped
    3) Some element in criminal chain tries to mislead public, local or formal, or even to wipe up his fingerprints.
    4) Very possibly someone wanted to publish images from fresh crime scene, which could stirr up discussions, and lead to next skirmisches and sectarians would flee.. Sometimes names, faces, details and locality is being dropped to control impact of news in uncontrollable environment, generally :)


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