Tuesday, January 09, 2007

An admission? Maybe not

As I have noted before, the major human rights organisations are a disgrace. The New York Sun had an excellent editorial last week, which underlines just how low Human Rights Watch has stooped:
Shortly before Christmas, the group released a 24-page report that attempts to rescue its earlier accusation that "On July 23, at 11:15 p.m., Israeli warplanes struck two clearly marked Red Cross ambulances in the village of Qana."
Based on photographic evidence of the ambulances that was inconsistent with the allegation, third parties, such as Australia's foreign minister, labeled the alleged incident a clear "hoax." That the group, which styles itself as an objective investigative human rights organization, accepted the claim without question is troubling.
Attempting to salvage its credibility following extensive criticism of its summer report, Human Rights Watch dispatched researchers to Lebanon to collect evidence on the alleged event. The new report summarizes their findings.
"Human Rights Watch originally reported that the ambulances had been struck by missiles fired from an Israeli airplane, but that conclusion was incorrect," the report states. The Lebanese ambulances could not have been struck by missiles fired by an Israeli warplane "as such missiles would have caused much more massive destruction and have left a huge crater." Additionally, "the limited damage caused, and the non-existence of heavy shrapnel, also rule out an artillery-fired round." Moreover, "none of the witnesses reported hearing helicopters in the air before or during the attack." And the researchers found no "diagnostic shrapnel or missile parts in the street." The report contains no evidence whatsoever of any other Israeli presence in the area that could have attacked the ambulances.
Yet, Human Rights Watch buries these critical admissions in the middle of the document and instead headlines the report with a claim that the group did no wrong. "On the basis of this investigation," the report says, "we conclude that the attack on the ambulances was not a hoax: Israeli forces attacked two Lebanese Red Cross ambulances that night in Qana, almost certainly with missiles fired from an Israeli drone flying overhead."
What is the evidence for the new allegation of an Israeli drone attack using missiles? The report makes clear that there is none. This time, Human Rights Watch is not being duped by a fabrication — it is the fabricator.
Do read the whole sickening exposé.

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