Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Assad Papers

Bashar Assad
The documents that tie the Syrian regime to mass torture and killings are described by Ben Taub ('The Assad Files', The New Yorker April 18, 2016 Issue). The text describes the work of Chris Engels, an American lawyer now looking for evidence linking high-level Syrian officials to mass atrocities.
After a decade spent training international criminal-justice practitioners in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Cambodia, Engels now leads the regime-crimes unit of the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, an independent investigative body founded in 2012, in response to the Syrian war. In the past four years, people working for the organization have smuggled more than six hundred thousand government documents out of Syria, many of them from top-secret intelligence facilities. The documents are brought to the group’s headquarters, in a nondescript office building in Western Europe, sometimes under diplomatic cover. There, each page is scanned, assigned a bar code and a number, and stored underground. A dehumidifier hums inside the evidence room; just outside, a small box dispenses rat poison.
Not for the faint hearted, and definitely not for those unchristian NIMBYs opposed to letting Syrian refugees escape from this.

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