The executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, has allowed his obsession with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and “barrel bombs” to completely cloud his vision when it comes to his twitter account. Rather than giving equal time to all the human rights abuses and war crimes that are taking place around the world, he uses up all his energy zeroing in on Assad and his alleged targeting of civilians. Issues like Israel’s abuse of Palestinians, Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war on Yemen and Bahrain’s oppression of the Shi’aa, to name just a few, are only brought up intermittently. Let’s not forget the big one: in Syria, the United States & its allies are funding and training extremist Jihadi factions with the goal of overthrowing the government of a sovereign member-state of the United Nations. Roth has not once pointed out the illegal and violently destabilizing nature of these Western/Turkish/GCC regime change operations. For the director of a major global human rights organization, this is no small oversight. How he manages to hone in on barrel bombs, while losing sight of far greater legal infractions, is flabbergasting.
Let’s take a look at Roth’s myopia in scrutinizing detail. His barrel bomb obsession begins on twitter on 12 November 2013:
This was the first of a whopping 200 Syria tweets that he has posted about “barrel bombs”. These don’t include at least an equal number of other anti-government tweets that range from Assad’s “use of chemical weapons against his people” to fawning praise of militants in Syria. Between 12 November 2013 and December 2014, Ken Roth tweeted about “barrel bombs” (BB) a total of 65 times. This is no small number, but it pales in comparison to the 135 barrel bomb tweets he posted in 2015 – thus far. During the first 8 months of 2015, the frequency of barrel bomb tweets varied from month to month. For example, after having posted 27 BB tweets in February of 2015, he surprisingly controlled his urges and kept it at under 15 for each of the following 4 months (March -June). In July his obsession got the best of him and he graced us with 28 BB tweets.Things got worse in August with a staggering 40 BB tweets. One of the reasons the BB tweeting became so trigger happy in the last two months is because he is now frantically inserting “barrel bombs” into tweets that are unrelated to the topic. There are countless examples of this but here are three:
Let’s for a moment examine the narrative that is being propagated by Ken Roth and other anti-Syria activists in Western media and NGO’s: “Bashar al-Assad is targeting civilians by dropping barrel bombs on them”. While it can’t be denied that the Syrian government does use barrel bombs, it has to be noted that Syria is facing an existential war launched by the United States and it’s regional allies who for the last 4 years have devoted all their energies to bringing about regime change in Syria. What’s worse is that they are doing it by investing billions of dollars on the arming, funding and training of the most violent and ruthless Islamic militants since the Afghan Mujahideen spawned Al Qaeda. The fact that Syria will become a medieval Islamic caliphate if they succeed does not seem to diminish their determination. If Assad was truly pursuing a policy of deliberate targeting of civilians he would be alienating the half of the population who support him. Say what you like about Bashar al-Assad but the one thing that both his admirers and detractors agree on is that he’s not stupid. If he had an active policy of targeting civilians, the Syrian death toll would not only be much higher but his base of support would have whittled down to nothing. The bombs being used by the government, barrel or otherwise, are targeting rebel positions in the territories that they hold. Invariably in war, civilians get caught in the crossfire. In the west they call that “collateral damage” and move on with few repercussions from the likes of Ken Roth. In Syria, not so. In the UN’s last detailed report on the Syrian death toll, casualty data showed that a whopping 93 percent of casualties were male – which should indicate that the dead are not representative of typical civilian demographics. And Ken Roth knows that. That’s why you have organizations like the SOHR (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights), SN4HR (Syrian Network for Human Rights), White Helmets (Syria Civil Defense) and of course Roth’s HRW (Human Rights Watch) zooming in on pictures of dead women and children to suggest that civilians are deliberately being targeted. See this report on the White Helmets (a group very publically embraced by HRW) to view clearly how such evidence is being fabricated and delivered right to your desktop. Here are a few Ken Roth attempts to “legitimize” the Western backed and funded propaganda ring (February and August 2015):
Incidentally, Ken Roth’s now 20 month old campaign propagating the barrel bomb narrative was preceded by a similar campaign in which he charged the Syrian government with dropping cluster munitions on civilians. The Syrian military does not have cluster bombs in it’s arsenal, which is why Roth eventually shut up but he and HRW tried for an entire year to convince the world otherwise by posting reports from “unnamed activists” and clearly-staged video evidence. Roth’s twitter account looked much the same in 2013 as it does today, except “barrel bombs” was replaced by cluster bombs. Here is one such tweet:
And it seems that Ken Roth has finally lost the plot. As it becomes increasingly clear that Western/Turkish/GCC-backed militants are cutting a swathe of destruction through Syria, targeting civilians through the use of heavy weapons, chemical weapons, and rape (all the things the Syrian Army had been blamed for in the past), cooky Ken is experiencing a meltdown. In a recent tweet posted on August 10, the HRW director goes so far as to compare Assad’s “killing of civilians” to the US’s genocidal atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima:
I would like to include another non-barrel bomb tweet that shows the depth of Roth’s spiraling irrationality. Back in June, Jabhat al-Nusra went into a village in Idlib province called Qalb Lawzeh and shot 20 members of the Druze sect dead. Earlier, the US-designated terrorist group had forced several hundred Druze villagers to convert to Sunni Islam. The tweet below illustrates that Ken Roth actually considers Al-Nusra, Syria’s main Al-Qaeda affiliate, a potential alternative to Bashar al-Assad:
The last few days of August have been interesting – after 27 days of crazy BB tweeting, only one barrel bomb tweet was posted. But Syria continues to be a favorite topic. And there’s a twist! He introduces a new bomb to his repertoire. Roth claims that Assad is now using “vacuum bombs” on civilians. And his fans are eating it up, if retweet numbers are any indication of success. God knows what this man will come up with next.
To many sensible Syria watchers on twitter, Ken Roth’s barrel bomb obsession has become a running joke but he continues to be empowered by a core number of followers who retweet him in droves every time he utters the magic words: “barrel”, “bombs”, “chemical”, “weapons”, “Assad” and “civilians”. They simply still can’t see him for what he really is: an American neocon with a regime change agenda posing as a champion of human rights.
What could be a more fitting end to this blogpost than the hero of this story’s recent hit single:
The Barrel Bomb Song