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Monday, September 14, 2009

More from Helena Cobban on Marc Garlasco

Helena Cobban, a member of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa advisory committee, has more to say about Nazi memorabilia collector Human Rights Watch's chief 'military analyst' (and I put that term in scare quotes because I question his credentials, as Cobban herself did earlier) Marc Garlasco. Cobban still hasn't seriously considered the possibility that Garlasco's Nazi fetish shows that he is incapable of carrying out an unbiased inquiry of Israel's actions, but she's becoming increasingly annoyed with HRW's circling the wagons.
It is complete garbage highly misleading for Garlasco to suggest that his obsessively pursuit of the "hobby" of collecting-- and lovingly displaying with almost pornographic attention to detail-- various swastika-adorned military memorabilia from the Nazi era in any way makes him a better investigator of current military events.

He claims that, "I've never hidden my hobby." But when I spoke with Iain Levine, who's the head of all HRW's programs and thus Garlasco's supervisor's supervisor, he said he had no inkling that Garlasco had such a hobby "until Tuesday morning."

Garlasco writes,
    I deeply regret causing pain and offense with a handful of juvenile and tasteless postings I made on two websites that study Second World War artifacts (including American, British, German, Japanese and Russian items).
The websites in question are titled German Combat Awards and Wehrmacht-awards. From a quick scan through them they don't, actually, seem to cover many non-German items at all.

Also, one of those allegedly "juvenile" postings was presumably this one, made in 2005: "The leather SS jacket makes my blood go cold it is so COOL!” Garlasco was 34 or 35 years old at the time. He'd been working for HRW for two years by then. It was only four years ago.

Hard to make a claim of "youthful indiscretion", based on such facts. ... I would like to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with Garlasco, in person. I asked Levine if I could have access to him. Hasn't happened yet.

I'd like to make a few last points here:

1. I do not claim to know what Garlasco's attitude is toward the Nazi-era military memorabilia that he so obsessively collects. He clearly seems to have a collector's zeal, or obsession, and to spend a lot of time pursuing this hobby. 7,734 posts on Wehrmacht Awards since March 2004, and compiling a 450-page guide to one small sub-branch of Nazi-era badges are not the signs of a casual collector. The comment shown above, made on Wehrmacht Awards in 2005, indicates some open-ness, at the very least, to the idea that one could entertain and express fondness for specifically SS memorabilia.

Also, using 'Flak88' seems like a signal of possible pro-Hitler proclivities to others in that part of the collecting world, who would be quite aware that '88' is their insiders' code for Heil Hitler.

To my mind, this does not prove that Garlasco's a "Nazi sympathizer", or an anti-Semite. But his participation on these sites-- including interactions there with people who clearly do seem to be Nazi sympathizers-- is extremely disturbing in itself.
Marc Garlasco, an anti-Semite? I would say that fair-minded people might consider that conclusion. Will Helena Cobban? Will Human Rights Watch consider the possibility that Garlasco, together with the previous incidents involving Whitson and Stork so taints their work in this region that they ought to bow out or at least start over again with new personnel who don't come to the job with preconceived notions of right and wrong?


At 2:53 AM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

Garlaso participates on www.germancombatawards.com Luftwaffe-Flak site, there are medals for

Bandenbekämfpung (meaning murdering Jews and Partisan)

and medals for Einsatzgruppen (murdering Jews and Gipsies)

http:// www.germancombatawards.co...344afd6cb48354a

nuff said....

At 9:08 AM, Blogger John said...

ok, not that I like the dude, but 'flak88', to any student of WWII military history, is a reference to the 88mm Flak (Anti Aircraft) gun that the Germans used first in Spain, and then throughout the war.

The '88' was so famous/notorious that even the allies knew it by name, see for a reference the opening scene of 'Kelley's Heros'

"Those aren't Mulligan's mortars anymore, those are German eighty-eights"

At 9:54 AM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

yes, Germans used first in Spain


pls. bear in mind, WW2 was instigated by the Nazis and Japs to enslave and kill millions of ppl. to persue to dream of racial superiority. All medal "collectors" show a adoration to such acts.


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