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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Human Rights Watch defends a Nazi fetish

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

NGO Monitor rips Human Rights Watch's defense of HRW investigator Marc Garlasco's Nazi fetish.

HRW’s defense seeks to justify Garlasco’s behavior by claiming, “many military historians including former and active-duty US service members, collect memorabilia from [the Nazi era].” But the collecting of Nazi memorabilia is not simply an innocent hobby engaged in by “students of military history.” It is highly controversial and in many European countries, it is illegal. Such trade is banned on many internet sites and from auction houses. Christies’ Chairman has stated that Nazi memorabilia, is “the only thing we categorically will not sell.” Writer Susan Sontag likens its collection to pornography and the Simon Wiesenthal Center notes it “glorifies the horrors of Nazi Germany.”


According to HRW’s response, “Garlasco’s own family’s experience on both sides of the Second World War has led him to collect military items related to both sides . . .” While Garlasco’s interest may have been a result of his family history, his hobby borders on the obsessive and is one-sided. He has posted thousands of comments on Nazi memorabilia sites including Germancombatawards (981 posts) and Wehrmacht-awards (7735 posts). In one post, he notes that he takes his collection of medals (many of which are swastika-adorned) out on a yearly basis to admire and photograph. He has even gone so far as to say he would “kill” to obtain a piece. [2] HRW claims Garlasco also collects US Airforce memorabilia. Research conducted by NGO Monitor could not find any evidence that Garlasco’s interest in US military memorabilia approaches the level to which he is devoted to Nazi paraphernalia.

HRW’s defense also claims that Garlasco collects “German Air Force medals and other objects (not from the Nazi Party or the SS, as falsely alleged).” Yet, Garlasco’s screen logo is a picture of a German badge with a swastika. In a 2005 comment, responding to a posting of a photo of a leather SS jacket, Garlasco wrote, “That is so cool! The leather SS jacket makes my blood go cold it is so COOL!” The jacket owner replies, “Great feedback mein Freund! . . . Gott mit uns [God is with us]!].

Most disturbingly, Garlasco’s screen moniker is Flak88. While this is the name of a German anti-aircraft gun (alarming on its own), the number 88 is a code for “Heil Hitler” and is used by neo-Nazis to identify themselves. The same screen name, Flak 88, was adopted by a poster at the white power website, stormfront.org. It is reasonable to conclude that Garlasco would have been fully aware of this symbolism when he chose this name. He even uses it on his license plate (a practice which is banned in Germany) and as a screen name on websites unrelated to his Nazi collection.

It is bizarre enough for a “human rights” activist to choose the name of a gun as an internet screen name and for his car license plate. Coupled with the neo-Nazi iconography, however, the adoption of “Flak88” as Garlasco’s alter ego is evidence at the very least of highly questionable moral judgment.
Read the whole thing.

The next time you read a Human Rights Watch report that is critical of Israel, please think about the chances that someone like Marc Garlasco is going to give Israel a fair hearing.


At 5:32 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its the conflict of interest. Its ethically questionable even if such Nazi memorabilia collecting was legal in European countries, which it isn't. And if HRW doesn't care about that, they have no business being involved in human rights work.

They don't get it about Marc Garlasco!

At 4:27 PM, Blogger Ayatollah Ghilmeini said...

Goes a little deeper than this Carl.

Implicit in his defense is his admiration of the air DEFENSE units. What were they defending? The most evil regime in history. Part of the cachet of the medals is some were awarded by Hitler himself AND they were awarded for their conduct in the most barbarous war ever fought. Many Germans fought for home and country but even non-SS units were complicit in war crimes. Germany deserved to be eliminated as a country after the war. The German people could have been scattered around the world. There was more than enough collective guilt, crimes of commission and omission to justify this.
That someone can hold themselves out as a "human rights" activist while harboring fantasies about Nazi regalia is just one more example of HRW's immorality to their very core.
You probably haven't yet seen Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds yet but I fully subscribe to the films's suggesting to carving swastikas into the foreheads of Nazis.


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