Report on Syrian Prison Deaths Questioned by Ex
UK Ambassador to Syria
Amnesty International's latest report on mass
extrajudicial killings in Syria would not stand
scrutiny, according to former British ambassador
to Syria, Peter Ford.
19, 2017 "Information
On February 7, the organization issued an
explosive report titled ‘Human Slaughterhouse,
Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydhaya
prison, Syria,' alleging that the Syrian
authorities were responsible of killing 13,000
opponents of President Bashar Assad at the
Saydnaya prison on the outskirts of Damascus.
In an interview with Sputnik, Ford
pointed out that it was interesting how the
report was coincidentally released after the
Syrian city of Aleppo was liberated by the
government forces two months ago,
after successful negotiations in Astana and
as it appears that Syria is coming closer to a
political solution for the ongoing war.
strange after this report has been over a year
in gestation — you have to ask, why now?" He
According to the former Ambassador, there is a
number of reasons why the report puts
into question the credibility of the human
rights organisation. Apart from the fact that it
was based on interviews with anonymous witnesses
and doesn't provide a hint of evidence, those
nameless sources were wrong on ‘basic
information', and that naturally puts to doubt
the veracity of other claims.
The retired British diplomat had
visited Saydnaya numerous times as he served
in Damascus from 2003 to 2006. According
to Ford, the prison was too small to contain ten
to twenty thousand prisoners at one time,
contrary to what Amnesty said in the report.
to twenty thousand is a fair-sized town." He
said in an interview. "The building which I saw
at Saydnaya could not possibly accommodate more
than ten percent of those numbers."
The human rights group also quoted
its sources as saying that Saydnaya became the
main political prison in 2011, which was just
already, when I was in Syria in 2006 and many
years before then, Saydnaya was the main
political prison." Ford clarified. "When they
get this level of detail wrong I find it very
hard to believe anything at all."
The former ambassador referred
to the organization as "the spearheads
of liberal interventionism", citing Amnesty
International's "sensationalist" reports of the
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
that they had verified that claims that Iraqi
soldiers had stolen incubators in Kuwaiti
hospitals and left babies on the floor to die.
Turned out this was a total fabrication…they
were gullible and they used it and it helped
to justify the Iraqi war." Ford said.
"This is the new way of picking up the white
man's burden — you go around changing regimes
that you accuse of human rights abuses."
Amnesty International has been
repeatedly criticized by some countries,
including Russia, the United States and China,
for spreading misleading information and acting
as an instrument of propaganda and information
wars. In 2013 the International Business Times
wrote that in the past Amnesty received funds
from the European Commission, from the
governments of the Netherlands, the US, Norway
and, in 2009, it received 2.5 million euros
from government entities.
well known in the NGO community for being very
aggressive, for being sensationalist and
for being focused very much on its own
fund-raising." Ford said.
"They have become part
of the liberal, elite establishment; part of the
vanguard of liberal interventionism. They have
lost their way. And this latest report will do
them no credit."