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Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Who qualifies as a "person" exactly?

Not Syrian soldiers, according to the U.N. Human Rights Chief:
More than 5,000 people have been killed in nine months of unrest in Syria, the U.N. human rights chief said...Navi Pillay reported the death toll to the U.N. Security Council as 1,000 higher than the previous toll just 10 days ago. It includes civilians, army defectors and those executed for refusing to shoot civilians, but not soldiers or security personnel killed by opposition forces, she said.
Those poor unfortunate "things" killed by opposition forces amount to "1,100 members of the army, police and security services" according to the Syrian government. Just a minor issue, apparently, not worth mentioning.

By the way, the number 5,000 comes from "the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights," based presumably on claims made in phone calls or emails from people in the opposition inside Syria. There isn't even a pretense that this data comes from hospitals, morgues, or cemeteries. The credibility of this number is an order of magnitude lower than any that were coming out of Iraq in the early days, that were routinely poo-poo'ed or ignored by the corporate media and U.S. government. This number, in contrast, is simply reported as fact, without the slightest questioning as to its accuracy.

Update: Listening to TV news, the story is broadcast as "The United Nations now estimates that 5000 people have been killed in Syria..." Aside from the confusion about who qualifies as a "person," this is complete nonsense. The "United Nations" hasn't estimated anything, and, as far as I can tell, has no independent information whatsoever on the subject.

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