Talk:Torture Photos from "Caesar"

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This is a talk page for discussing Torture Photos from "Caesar". For sources, claims and narratives see the main page. (To see what is hot, see recent changes)


CNN's Amanpour shows Caesar torture photos to Russian Prime Minister Medvedev.
Prepared for Carter-Ruck and Co. Solicitors of London. 6 St Andrew Street, London, EC4A 3AE. [1]
November about a harrowing trove of photographs that were said to document widespread torture and executions in Syrian prisons when a State Department official viewed some of the images on a laptop belonging to an antigovernment activist, a senior official said Wednesday.
The United States did not act on the photos for the past two months, officials said, because it did not have possession of the digital files and could not establish their authenticity.
For now, the White House and the State Department are expressing outrage over the images, even as they caution that the United States has not independently authenticated them.
The Syrian ministry said "the aforementioned law office is clearly linked to hostile sides to the Syrian Arab Republic since the beginning of the crisis in Syria".
"The report is a mere gathering of photos of unidentified persons proving that a number of them are foreign terrorists from several nationalities who had been killed when attacking the military checkpoints and civil institutions," the statement said.
"Part of them are civilians and military personnel who were tortured and killed by the armed terrorist groups because of their support to the state," it added.
As the report was published two days before the Geneva II conference, it undoubtedly proves that it carries a political objective and tries to undermine the efforts exerted to realise peace in Syria and end terrorism in the country, the Syrian ministry said.
Who applied to this firm as a client? PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Yasin Qadı, Yusuf al-Qaradawi and some other people connected with al-Qaeda. Enlighten the public about who these other people are as clients of this firm. Erdoğan has to justify how he formed a mutual client basis in this firm in London with Yusuf al-Qaradawi and other al-Qaeda affiliated people. That firm is not unfamiliar with the Prime Minister.” [2]

Press reactions

Syrian government officials could face war crimes charges in the light of a huge cache of evidence smuggled out of the country showing the "systematic killing" of about 11,000 detainees, according to three eminent international lawyers.
The authors are Sir Desmond de Silva QC, former chief prosecutor of the special court for Sierra Leone, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, the former lead prosecutor of former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic, and Professor David Crane, who indicted President Charles Taylor of Liberia at the Sierra Leone court.
A Syrian military police photographer has supplied "clear evidence" showing the systematic torture and killing of about 11,000 detainees in circumstances that evoked Nazi death camps, former war crimes prosecutors said.
The images he took were passed to the Syrian National Movement, which is supported by the Gulf state of Qatar. Lawyers acting for Qatar, London-based Carter-Ruck and Co., commissioned the examination of the evidence.
The three former prosecutors, who worked at the criminal war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone, examined the evidence and interviewed the source in three sessions in the last 10 days. They found him credible.
Lawyers acting for the Arab state of Qatar claim to have evidence smuggled out of Syria that shows the “systemic killing” of about 11,000 Syrian detainees at the hands of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
The allegations, contained in a 31-page report released yesterday to coincide with the Geneva II talks, were described as a “smoking gun” that could see Syrian officials charged with war crimes.
Emaciated corpses lie in the sand, their ribs protruding over sunken bellies, their thighs as thin as wrists. Several show signs of strangulation. The images conjure memories of some of history’s worst atrocities.
Numbers inscribed on more than 11,000 bodies in 55,000 photographs said to emerge from the secret jails of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, suggest that torture, starvation and execution are widespread and even systematic, each case logged with bureaucratic detail.
Qatar was well aware that its unequivocal opposition to Bashar al-Assad might jeopardize the credibility of the final report, so it accepted to finance the study on condition that "the evidence is properly and rigorously authenticated," says Cameron Doley, one of the lawyers of the firm.
The experts buried themselves in the flow of pictures and grew convinced that "it was very unlikely" that they could have been forged. During the month of January, they met with "Caesar" on three occasions, asking question after question, eventually confirming that the man is indeed who he claims to be.
Although he supported the anti-Assad uprising, "Caesar" "gave an honest account of his experiences," according to the report, adding that he never pretended to have witnessed the executions.
... (Activist) Emadeddin Rachid showed Le Monde a scanned copy of a death file made of "Caesar's" pictures. The form carried the heading of the "Syrian Arab Republic, General Command of the army" and on the postmortem pictures, the seal "Military Police" is affixed.
... "Caesar" and his companions now dream of the day when they can hand the photographs to an international court. "If justice doesn't take over and doesn't do what needs to be done after such massacres, then you can bet that there will be counter-massacres," Rachid warns. [3]

Moderately Skeptical

The report by former war crimes prosecutors alleges the Syrian regime has tortured 11,000 prisoners. The claim is credible, but don't forget the agenda.
Which leaves me feeling kind of awkward about a report released Monday that alleges 11,000 prisoners have been tortured, starved, or otherwise beaten to death in Syrian government custody since 2011. It's a believable assertion based on what is known about Syrian government practice and the conduct of the war. But the report itself is nowhere near as credible as it makes out and should be viewed for what it is: A well-timed propaganda exercise funded by Qatar, a regime opponent who has funded rebels fighting Assad who have committed war crimes of their own.
No, that’s not to say that the evidence from Qatar – and we shall come to the matter of Qatar shortly – is not true. But we should be asking a lot more questions than we have been asking about this portrait gallery of pain, unleashed only hours before an international conference in Switzerland in which we in the West – but perhaps not Qatar – hope to end the civil war in Syria.


  • Maidhc Ó Cathail on RT, critical on how "Caesar" photos are used. It may have valid points. But also, unfortunately (for a researcher), the issue becomes politicized. It is well-known that Russia supports Assad for a long time, with justifications for doing that varying with time. While Maidhc Ó Cathail appear to be specializing on critical to Israel publications. So now news of their marriage. But reality is more complicated than political slogans. Assad is not such a great guy and not just a victim of the West as he may come out after reading the article. But ending up with AQ or IS may get it even (much) worth. Death toll is high, so perhaps somebody needs to do something (if anybody cares). --Resup (talk) 15:47, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
Rep Adam Kinzinger is another advocate for aggression against Syria. At an event at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in July 2015 he said, “If we want to destroy ISIS we have to destroy the incubator of ISIS, Bashar al-Assad.” The irony and hypocrisy is doubly profound since Rep Kinzinger has met and coordinated with opposition leader Okaidi who is a confirmed ally of ISIS. In contrast with Kinzinger’s false claims, it is widely known that ISIS ideology and initial funding came from Saudi Arabia and much of its recent wealth from oil sales via Turkey. The Syrian Army has fought huge battles against ISIS, winning some but losing others with horrific scenes of mass beheading.
The government of Qatar has been a major supporter of the mercenaries and fanatics attacking the sovereign state of Syria. Given that fact, isn’t it hugely ironic to hear the legal contractors for Qatar accusing the Syrian government of “crimes against humanity”? --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:29, 5 March 2016 (UTC)

Reminders, Revivals, and New Tries for "Action"

  • As covered, first news was with the Carter-Ruck report, CNN and Guardian reports released on January 21, 2014
  • Feb. 6 - three extra gruesome photos released to Michael Weiss, run in Now Lebanon with his commentary
  • April 2014, UN Security Council: Syria crisis: 'Torture' photos shown to UN Security Council – BBC, 15 April 2014
  • July, 2014, US House of Representatives
  • Prelude: Wall Street Journal video
  • October 2014, US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • Prelude: Inside Bashar Assad's torture chambers by Michael Isikoff, October 13. By-line: "Photos to be displayed at U.S. Holocaust Museum are 'smoking gun' evidence of war crimes, State Department official tells Yahoo News." [4]
  • Exhibit begins October 15. See front page...
  • Nov 1, New York Times: Syrian's Photos Spur Outrage, But Not Action --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:23, 5 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Mid-January, 2015: Zaman al-Wasl publishes five new photos of the Hospital 601 morgue, not blurring victim faces, focusing on two workers whose faces are not blurred, and who are even named. One smiles over the bodies. 2015 1-11 pre-announcement - 1-12, article with pictures, Arabic - 1-16, article with photos, English, more detail - 2015 1-19 article with photos - Syrian Observer, citing these --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:41, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Mid-January: "At a conference on Syria Thursday sponsored by the New America Foundation, a Syrian opposition group released a new batch of the Caesar photos — depicting burned, beaten and emaciated bodies that U.S. officials believe were taken inside Syrian prisons. The Coalition for Democratic Syria also released a sharply critical statement from Caesar, who has been hiding in Europe ..." Quote from that: “Unfortunately, the industrialized killing that you can see in these pictures has inspired outrage but little action by the United States government."" January 16 Michael Isikof, Yahoo News
  • Mid-January: Team Caesar ally, Stephen Rapp, the ambassador-at-large in charge of the State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice, makes a show of threatening to quit in frustration over how hard it is to get a UN War Crimes trial without UNSC (Russia-China) approval. January 16 Michael Isikof, Yahoo News Fact of life: challenged, expecting some stupid showdown. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:46, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
  • March 5, 2015: Facebook page releases hundreds of new face-shot photos of victim, not blurred. This is bound to spur renewed stomping around on the issue. A huge number of the victims, especially at the top, have had their eyes gouged out, but I see no sliced throats. Many are elderly. I'm reminded most of the mass grave processing photos from Sirte, Libya, after the rebels did their "liberation" there in October 2011. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:41, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
  • March 10: on Twitter Syrian Coalition says "Caesar Photos: Inside Syrian Authorities’ Prisons” exhibit on display at @UN Secretariat now." News reports on the display: Anadolu, Turkey - Reuters via Yahoo News -

The exibit runs for some days and gets decent media coverage, photos of shocked observers, etc. Inner City Press reports on the exhibit and presentations made in conjunction. One claim made here on the back of "Caesar's" photos: "the SNC's Najib Ghadbian said that Assad forces killed some 32,000 in 2014, 75% civilians, while ISIS or Da'esh in 2014 in Syria killed some 3000, 85% of whom were military, he said." That's the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people, claiming Daesh is way better than the government, and only killed 450 civilians in Syria in the whole year to the government's 24,000, a ratio of 53:1. And he would say their barely-existent FSA killed zero, as always. They're moderates! --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:23, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

US legal strategy: find a photo of a citizen of a friendly country dead, get a good ID, make sure Caesar claims it's part of his batch (is that why he holds half of it back?) and looks enough like one of those, etc. ... and open their own legal case outside the UN against "Assad," based on "Caesar's" combined stories. Or, as Wall Street Journal reported it (July, 2014) it sounds a bit better but pretty much that. And this legal decision I guess is just another pretext to have some arrest warrant for Assad, or just an excuse for more sanctions. Ambassador Rapp got so frustrated with what must be this process that he quit, or threatened to, in January, 2015. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:58, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Actual Calls for Action

  • "Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS) consists of seven Syrian American organizations that include: SETF, UFS, SAA, SEO, SCD, AFS, SAC," and is represented by facebook and a web page. They are said to sponsor "Caesar" trips to Washington. [5] Latest postings on those, at this time, are from September 2013. "On Monday, September 9, 2013, the U.S. Congress will vote on a limited military intervention in Syria. Congress must show the world that America is not afraid to act when a brutal dictator continues to disregard U.S. warnings and defy international norms against the use of chemical weapons. U.S. action must be decisive and strategic enough to end the war in Syria and pave the way for transition to a post-Assad future, enabling Syrians to begin the difficult and important processes of reconciliation, reconstruction, and democratization.This is a rare occasion. It is critically important that YOU take action and contact your Members of Congress THIS WEEK while they are in their home districts. This is a chance to not only punish Assad for using chemical weapons, but also to prevent the continued slaughter of innocent Syrian civilians, and pave the way for a political transition to democracy."

Other organisations and calls:

  • Friends of Syria group, perhaps represented by this webpage (last update November 4, quoting Russian RT, a 'controversial' London ex-mayor, Ken Livingstone, and criticizing USA--so something must be wrong here)
Nothing wrong with re-branding "friends" to mean friends and not "enemies of Syria" (long-running pro-government site) --Caustic Logic (talk) 22:59, 5 November 2014 (UTC)
--Resup (talk) 16:05, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

General Discussion

Starting Thoughts

moved from Other research#New Suggestions (2014)
  • Crane-Da Silva-Nice Torture Report or Torture Photos from "Caesar": CNN reports "A team of internationally renowned war crimes prosecutors and forensic experts has found "direct evidence" of "systematic torture and killing" by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, the lawyers on the team say in a new report." The report: Syria Board of Inquiry Doha PDF (Prepared for Carter-­‐Ruck and Co. Solicitors of London.) The photo with the article shows a man with censored things done to his face and chest, and zero proof who he was or who did it. I'll review the report, but the article summarizes:
The bodies in the photos showed signs of starvation, brutal beatings, strangulation, and other forms of torture and killing, according to the report.
In a group of photos of 150 individuals examined in detail by the experts, 62% of the bodies showed emaciation -- severely low body weight with a hollow appearance indicating starvation. The majority of all of the victims were men most likely aged 20-40.
A complex numbering system was also used to catalog the corpses, with only the relevant intelligence service knowing the identities of the corpses. It was an effort, the report says, to keep track of which security service was responsible for the death, and then later to provide false documentation that the person had died in a hospital.

From highlights: "Defector provided thousands of photographs of victims, a new report states" "The defector, codenamed "Caesar," allegedly photographed as many as 50 bodies a day" (Do ANY of them show normal access to areas rebels couldn't access, like actual staffed prisons? Or is it in all some room, some dirt yard, etc.?) --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:28, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Assad killed them...

When I first came across this material on Wednesday night I was horrified. I found the story believable. Well, Western propaganda is effective. Even if you have built defenses against all five levels of propaganda, from the emotional to the intellectual, something gets through. After being fooled a few times on Libya, I completely stopped following Western mainstream media.

After a night's sleep, everything was clear to me. It has however taken me two days to write anything down, so I will now record my starting thoughts. I have not even read any of the other comments on this page, except for noticing the speculation about the photos being from Libya. It was one of my first thoughts but I find it unlikely.

This is what I think:

  1. The photos are real and from Syria, with correct, unfaked EXIF data.
  2. The photos show a total of 11,000 dead Syrians.
  3. Damascus Military Security Branch 215 operated a government morgue. Everyone killed in the violence or found dead somewhere were taken there for processing, identification and burial or release to relatives.
  4. Some of the dead may be government captives, but the major part of the 11,000 bodies came from the open battlefields.
  5. As bodies came in from outside government custody, it is impossible to say from the photographs who killed the victim or who was responsible for his torture wounds.

The proof is quite simple. The Qatari sources claim these people are victims of forced disappearance – taken into government custody never to be seen again. However, in the SOHR and other opposition numbers for victims there is no such category for forced disappearance, let alone for 11,000 people disappearing. If the figure of 11,000 bodies from the Damascus area is correct, then these bodies must be from among the 110,000 deaths reported by SOHR. If they are war dead, there is no way of knowing the provenance of the body. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:12, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

P.S. – As to the three clowns comparing this to Nazi death camps... A far better comparison for their claims would be the US-led Operation Condor in South America.

Great thought exercise. When you hear numbers so huge, it seems either that's exaggerated, or something like this. The prominence of likely combat deaths is not clear. Neither is it clear how representative the photos chosen for publication were. But those show non-combat stuff, captivity and torture (infacted shackle-marks, etc.) so we've at least got a bit of a mix going on. As for tortured captives and combat zones, there's the possibility of finding tortured corpses inside an overrun rebel HQ, for example, and processing those alongside the killed defenders and maybe even your own slain soldiers, and anyone they did in fact murder in captivity, or who died in captivity. And that's besides those routinely just dumped by the side of the road so the activists can report "the martyr's body was taken to the National/Mezzeh Hospital and handed back to his family today by authorities, with signs of torture."
So, yeah, I can see this - he did that job, at that place, and smuggled out the photos somehow - and all it proves is a lot of people are dying in various ways around Damascus since the cool idea of regime change became the policy of several hostile nations peaceful protests began in 2011. These would/might (?) largely be processed in Mezzeh Military hospital, where I read he worked. The metadata might be consistent with that but, as we discussed, that could be true or false. The dishonest addition would the impression given by "Caesar" that all had been abused detainees somewhere previously. It would explain a lot, including things we don't have yet (consistent metadata)
Without seeing many of the photos, however, I can't say how consistent their locales are with realistic hospital facilities (or get actual facility photos to compare them with). We can't see how many look like combat kills vs. executed, tortured, or just unclear. We can't have teams of people comb the net for matches to see how many of these have been previously reported killed here or there, outside a prison. If your theory is true, there are bound to be at least some of these in such a huge pool. But we can't even start checking that and so ... for me, this a possibility to list and keep in mind, and maybe the single best one yet, but still impossible to rule in or out. And maybe only part of the answer even if true.
As for "there is no such category for forced disappearance, let alone for 11,000 people disappearing," the VDC has both a detainees and a missing database, I think even they'd say both woefully inadequate. However, I've skimmed it. Most people detained also have the release date filled in. I doubt the records there could support anything quite like this, but they'd say the unknown numbers don't disallow such a thing. SOHR plays with a big margin of suspected combat deaths twice as high as verified on both sides, for example. An extra 11,000, no problem. Also, the number remains suspect. I doubt that it's rounded down by much, but that's all I can say for it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:19, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm at a point where if they want me to believe they have 55K photos, they have to release them. Period. Given the sources I have no problem believing that this whole story is made up and a "Caesar" doesn't exist. There was next to no effect other than that Kerry and the other clowns had a fresh horror story to mention in their Geneva speeches, so I see no reason to give this much attention. There are four Hitler fingers pointing back at them, for increasing numbers of people clear to see. --CE (talk) 14:38, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
Not too far from my stance. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:20, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Another thing about this theory is, unless he took all the original photos from such a long span, "Caesar" should only have copies, meaning his bosses will still have the originals, with files of varying detail attached. If this is how things are, they should be able to easily answer it. Select some best cases, show the same photo we've seen, explain where this guy was killed, what he was doing/why they killed him, where he came from, etc. Give the overall picture as their records show it, explain the starving and torture signs we see, put those in the true context, and generally tear apart the story Caesar handed in stapled to his copies. Somehow, I predict they won't be doing this, only maybe because this isn't the explanation. But I hope it is, and they respond the right way. That would be cool to observe. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:20, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes, they have all the same photos and know exactly who Caesar is. If I were the Syrian propaganda minister I would release the whole set with full EXIF-data. Then again, if the demand for prosecution is to be taken at all seriously, it is best to say absolutely nothing. It will only help the prosecution in cocking up new lies. Any counterargument is best presented at The Hague.
Successful prosecution of any enemy of the Empire requires that the state structures of the enemy state be first destroyed. A functioning bureaucracy will find out the facts and present the counterargument. The prosecution must first demand that the enemy state be bombed to the stone age – like Libya, or at least its leaders isolated and detached from the state bureaucracy by a color revolution – like Milošević and Yugoslavia. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 15:23, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
But in support: the Justice Ministry's statement, as CNN reported it, "branded the report "politicized and lacking in objectivity and professionalism" and said some of the photos are of "foreign terrorists."" That's either a guess, or some knowledge of the content. Either way, they're saying it's in Syria. And "It then said any expert "could easily find out that these pictures are fake and that they have no relation to prisoners or detainees in Syrian prisons."" [6] Just defending their turf with a denial, or speaking from knowledge of what the photos do show? --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:28, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Assad enemies killed them...

"The goal of the Takfiris was to control Syria and to eliminate, expel, and hit all communities of other religions and Muslim sects and even those in the Sunnite community who do not agree with their viewpoint. Syria was awaiting massacres similar to those perpetrated by "ISIL" in Riqqeh, Deir Zour, Mosul and Anbar. However we are on the threshold of the fourth year of the Syrian conflict, and still the Takfiris have not yet been able to control Syria. Many Syrians remain safe in their villages, lands, towns, and cities without coming under this control. Isn't that a great victory, a great achievement? What is required is that we reach the day of final victory. However, what has taken place so far is a great victory to all those who are defending and fighting for Syria, Iraq, and the region not to fall in the hands of these butchers who cut heads, rip chest, bombard, kill, slaughter, dishonor women, and take them as prisoners".

Speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Nov 4th, the 2014 Ashura'a commemoration, translated on Saker blog --Resup (talk) 16:45, 8 November 2014 (UTC)


This thread should have more to it. In anticipation, a sub-heading and space. I think I just put this pretty well in a comment at the SOHR Facebook page (where I've been spending too much time, sorry - the comments are getting smarter all the time, and rebel supporters become the trolls). I meant to cut the last part there, but it's okay here. Building off another person's comment:

"when (if) most of these victims are murdered and they were photographed by the regime: 1+1=2." Here's a thought exercise - take that statement, switch rebels for regime and consider this with any of the hundreds of videos where they have murdered bodies photographed and put on Youtube. There, rebels say they just found them, and people buy that. Then consider the government of a country, that runs everything from sanitation to diplomacy (both likely relevant here) is at least as capable of finding, processing, and documenting bodies that they didn't necessarily murder themselves in cold blood. We can't responsibly draw the conclusions requested by our esteemed solicitors in London and their clients in Qatar. Not until we can get more information and evidence than a paid defector's possibly fake back story to make this another obvious "regime" crime.

The part about "from sanitation to diplomacy (both likely relevant here)" , in case it's unclear, refers to cleaning up and maybe returning (and photographing?) the rotting carcasses of terrorists sent by/from other countries, before the accumulating microbes make the people of Syria ill. I'm not at all sure what portion of the dead may or may not be that type, really, but it was an example range. It's okay, hardly anyone there will come close to getting that anyway. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:42, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

WSJ article suggests that there was a separate facility for Syrian military officers. So "Caesar" than likely will photograph those killed who were not believed to be Syrian military. This by itself does not imply that the rest were executed by the Government, and does not establish how they were killed. Resup (talk) 19:27, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

A good point. The justice ministry's quote may not really be that useful. It might just be their presumption of what the photos show, using standard Syrian government language (always foreign, always terrorist, never domestic, never "freedom fighter," etc.) --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:33, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

On Questions And Answers

BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut said, in the sidebar of this BBC report:

Issues of political motivation - the commissioning of the report by Qatar, and its release just before the Geneva talks - should not obscure the reality of the evidence produced.

Many will say this, and I argue the best course is to agree with them and move forward. The reality - or unreality - of the core allegations is what matters here. All those who simply point to the timing, to Qatar, or even (less often) to the prosecutors, and leave it as questioned will not have much effect. Many out there simultaneously see the cynical timing and questionable motives, and the horrible regime crime that makes you almost glad people are using timing tricks and any money/help they can get to take out this bastard Assad. Reinforcing that will do little. I suppose everything one can usually do is in the realm of raising questions, and not proving anything. But more specific questions, with answers narrowed down, can really work a long ways towards that end.

So far, we're about it that's trying (in English, that I see). I've scanned for any reports mentioning metadata, and couldn't (easily) find anything, aside from a comment beneath this Penny for your Thoughts post. Our page isn't appearing in searches yet. Usually we dominate an issue later, once 98% of those who once cared have moved on, and only the scholars remain. :( --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:38, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Soon to be an anniversary of this section (may be time for brief update)? Indeed, this work may become important later, when and if Syrians themselves will get breathing space to be concerned with history of those killed. In the long run, I would imagine that most valuable will be the list of photos, with fairly brief comments. Something which other people, scholars, are likely to use. If there are other list keepers (I was not following closely), than best if it's the same list but different brief commentary ... --Resup (talk) 01:27, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
'if Syrians concerned' has a major if in it ; same if as in 'if a non-Islamist government'... , with lions riding on a bear ) --Resup (talk) 01:52, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
Two years, since the section and a bit less 'til 2 years since the photos first announced. And there are plans for a new round of group research and a report ... hopefully underway enough to announce on the anniversary (I'm sure it can't be quite done by then). I've just found the Rosetta Stone for setting a photo number/timeline correlation (SAFMCD site), which will help it make sense. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:06, 2 January 2016 (UTC)

Three More Photos

They say these were provided by someone in the coalition, exactly three more "Caesar" photos that can be allowed to trickle out, extra gory and upsetting ones, compared to the others. One is an image like those we've seen, a naked starved man with tortured wounds all over the body, in that same dirt shed. Another is a close-up on an emaciated man, elderly, finished off perhaps with popping out his eyes. Everything but that is blurred out, along with all faces, numbers, and anything on the card, perhaps to avoid the danger anyone will be able to discern just who these are pictures of. The third one adds a new level of evidence that bodies in Syria decay after a while, just like anywhere. A badly decomposed body, dumped in water it seems, maybe after they tortured him to death, then waited a month or two to retrieved the body and take their special "it was just a heart attack" photo ... right? --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:19, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Why did the activist choose these photos for publication – apart from their massacre porn shock value? They have no forensic value; they tell nothing of the cause of death or identity of the victims.
On closer inspection they show something crucially important: Assad's thugs first starved these people to death and then kept the bodies lying in the jail cell for another month just to make sure.
...not really. These bodies have been recovered from somewhere out in the open.
The activist argument is based on the premise, that the Assadist facility is air-tight. Nothing ever enters the morgue, except from the well-guarded torture chambers of Assad's prisons. If we allow just a hundred unknown John Does from the dumping ground behind some rebel outpost to enter the pipeline and these were to show torture marks, we can assume that the undisclosed selection process would guarantee that these are the photos shown to the public as "Assad's victims". -- Petri Krohn (talk) 17:40, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
P.S. – I think I now know how the activist logic works. They know that all 11,000 victims were collected from the open battlefields, except for a hundred or so, that died in Assad's prisons. They also know that the rebels never torture their prisoners whereas Assad always does. Therefor they can identify the 100 victims with torture marks as the 100 victims from Assad's prisons. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 17:54, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
Seems they goofed up here, with the one photo anyway. Left a good comment there. Actually two - one responding to Syricide. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:17, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
I never realized who or what Michael Weiss is. I thought he was some Middle East expert stationed in Lebanon. The fact is he is little more than a Cold War warrior. I would not trust a word he says. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:27, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Is the Code-Name to Protect Family Story Obvious Nonsense?

Obvious ... once you notice it (took me some months, 'til just now) --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:29, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

One unexplained aspect of the defector's story is how the code-name is actually supposed to protect him or his family. Being out of the country is what protects him from any reasonable government counter-measures. However, "Caesar" claims to be a long-standing body photographer hired by the Syrian government. They will have his name, address, and more and could easily find his family, if only they knew which of their body photographers he was. Religion can narrow it down - he'll be a Sunni Muslim to have taken the route and gotten the help he did. So unless there's more than one Sunni corpse documenter in the government's employ who vanished around August 2013, there would be no pool to hide amongst at all. He could pick any clever pseudonym he wanted, and his employers could easily deduce the tattletale is the one that just ran away. If his story and fears are true, his family will be punished however by now, and there's no point. But it's impossible to check into that, Still, dead family or irrelevant threat, he choses to hide his identity and face, and all players agree to do the same, all citing the same obviously nonsense explanation. Rather, what this suggests is a massive agreement to hide - from the global public, not from "Assad" - certain details of the defector's story, starting with who he is. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:29, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

A detail I had forgotten: the morgue worker did not just disappear in August, as far as the authorities know. Rather, they're supposed to think he's dead. As Michael Isikoff reports "to protect his family, Caesar faked his death, staging an elaborate funeral, before he escaped from Syria in August 2013. He is now in hiding in Europe." [4] So they'll know who he was, and it'll be the body photographer, or one of the few (presumably), that died at that time and had an "elaborate" funeral. Sounds like a great trick, for a temporary fix. But unless Syria is missing all the external news that blows his fake funeral cover, they will still know who he is and where his family is. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:24, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

Also, it seems they may have left Syria shortly behind him (CNN reported in January "the report says the process took four months, and that Caesar left the country before his family.") They must be living in an unsafe place if he still cannot reveal his name, huh? --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:24, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

  • Newsweek He "goes by a code name for fear that he or his family will be targeted..."
  • CNN Jan. 20 "When Caesar became concerned for his safety, his contacts in the Syrian opposition to whom he had leaked the photos arranged for him and his family to be smuggled out of Syria. The lawyers have remained mum on how that was done, but the report says the process took four months, and that Caesar left the country before his family. ... It is unclear where Caesar and his family are currently living; the lawyers say only that they carried out their investigation in the Middle East."
  • Reuters, April 15 "“Caesar became a spy,” said Crane. “The extraction of Caesar out of Syria is a Hollywood movie someday. It’s a fascinating cover plan they put together (to get Caesar out of Syria). They killed him and they told his family they killed him and they had a funeral while he’s being extracted. Then the family was exfiltrated out and reunited with Caesar,” he said. “Caesar’s a hero."
  • NYT, Oct 31 Quotes "Caesar" saying “I have risked my life and the life of my immediate family, and even exposed my relatives to extreme danger, in order to stop the systematic torture"

So, he will still have less immediate family back there and in danger (it's true, just not sure who). The Syrian government, again, will know who and where they are. Nearest relatives of the photographer who played dead and whose closest family then vanished too. Not very fucking difficult to deduce that. No protection lent. Real reason for the fake identity, not explained. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:50, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

(I'll be re-organizing all of this for a quick thing on the front page) You know what's even more bizarre than the code-name, in context of uselessness for the stated purpose, is the other "precautions" taken to keep us from knowing who "Caesar" is. To hide from his employers, ostensibly, he's never allowed a view of his face, or hands I think, hair, or any bit of skin. Might let Assad know who he was sending paychecks to for 13 years, if that's true. In the House chamber he was in that blue hoodie; they did let slip there his basic size and stature, which could help assassins narrow down their target. Careless! He only speaks in whispers to an interpreter who vocalizes for him. It's apparently worried that his voice waves will help decide which of the body photographers that faked their death and vanished their families in fall 2013 he is. And this concern is even slapped onto other things getting censored. How they always obscure faces and ID numbers looks, to me, like a precaution to avoid anyone (in Syria) from identifying the victims and their true stories, letting "Caesar" explain it all for us in bulk. But CNN will have us know the victim numbers at least "are obscured in the report released to CNN to protect "Caesar's" identity and to hide the location of the military hospital where the photos were taken." [6] This can only logically mean that his identifty could be narrowed down by which bodies he pictured and where that was. Indeed, and it can also be deduced by simply pulling up the file for that one guy who didn't really die after all - if there even was such a guy, as he says.--Caustic Logic (talk) 12:39, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

Along the way to front page, stopped of for an expansion in this blog post, which I already cited on the front page. Fail Caesar Part 1: Protecting his Identity - From Whom? --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:24, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

Not A Body Photographer?

I doubt it has anything to do with my recent rounds to raise the obvious ID issue, explained above, but there may be moves on to explain away that issue. Apparently pro-opposition Syrian reports Who is "Caesar" The man who leaked "crime of the century"?

At a time in which Caesar was described to be a photographer who used to work for Assad regime, "Syria Mirror" has learned that this is not true and the man used to work as a general who was assigned in an important post in the Ministry of Defense before defecting.

It says they know his name but won't release it, and notes the security measures taken on his US visit were "remarkable" considering "the knowledge that the Assad regime knows his true character." (?) It says he was really worried about his family, having two cousins killed already in Homs. It does not explain how he got these photos and knows what they document. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:26, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Does Syria Even Have the Originals?

It's said "Caesar" only took copies, at great danger. Surely in this police state, to take the originals would be noticed and met with a slaughtered family, etc. But then, in this war zone, what if the photos really came from a computer stolen from an overrun government facility? And maybe they also had the photographer on board and his camera (for the latest batch still in memory?), etc. It's a question we probably can't answer with certainty, but maybe we have some thoughts on how originals vs. copies would be distributed and how likely it is the government was left technically blind on the subject. two points for that possibility:

  • Damascus has never called on the originals and their intact data to formulate a public refutation of the Caesar narrative
  • If they could do that, it might not even seem worth trying. The very fact they decided to run with these 55,000 copies might mean they somehow know Damascus has no originals.

One point against:

  • Especially if the real time-span is anything like Caesar says, all but maybe the last batcg should have had good copies at least stored in a few relevant places, and ultimately I imagine they do have copies and just remiain tight-lipped like usual. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:24, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

Syria Calls the Photos Fake?

Isikoff interview, 10 February, 2017

It's often reported that the Syrian government claims "the photos are fake," apparently understood as digitally altered, as it's refuted with expert analysis that suggests no changes to the pixels of the images to, for example, add injuries or remove body mass and make people look starved to death. Crucial metadata, all seem to understand, was generally if not totally lost, but the pictures aren't messed with; the stuff shown really happened to real people, in Syria, during the course of the "uprising" and counter-measures. But "the Assad regime" comes out looking like delusional deniers, underlining their implicit guilt.

In fact, only the Syrian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is on the record with any kind of statement as far as we know, and that's of limited value. Responding to general claims of abuse in Syrian prisons (specifically prisons of military intelligence, so not necessarily linked to the MoJ), they issued a statement on January 22, that was cited by state media SANA, as reports describe. Both the original statement and original SANA report are hard to find, but re-postings of one SANA report and another from another state media source can be found. It's this report everyone refers to for the "fake" claim, and the word was used in one article. In part, these say:

Ministry of Justice dismissed as baseless the report prepared by the British Carter-Ruck law office, politicized and lack of objectivity and professionalism.”
The Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the aforementioned office is clearly linked to hostile sides to the Syrian Arab Republic since the beginning of the crisis in Syria.
“The report is a mere gathering of photos of unidentified persons proving that a number of them are foreign terrorists from several nationalities who dies when attacking the military checkpoints and civil institutions, the statement said, adding that part of them are civilians and military personnel who were tortured and killed by the armed terrorist groups because of their support to the state.
It pointed out that the report was based on a group of photos supplied to the office by somebody who fled from Syria and is pursued by the Syrian Judiciary, who claimed that he has got the photos while he was working as a photographer for some public sides.
The report said that the office listened to the testimony of a person who said that he left Syria five days after the starting of the crisis, wondering how he was able to get what he claimed as documents.
The Ministry said that the issuance of the report a day before holding the Geneva 2 conference undoubtedly proves that the aim of publishing it is a political and aims at undermining the efforts exerted to realize peace in Syria and ending terrorism in it.
(note: this refers to a witness who left Syria five days after the upriusing started. This is not "Caesar," but his contact, a relative by marriage - the report notes, page 15)
Syria’s Justice Ministry has dismissed a report alleging mass torture and killing by the government as “politicized” depicting the shocking photos in the document “fake”.

“The Justice Ministry completely denies the veracity of the report,” Syrian state news agency SANA quoted the ministry as saying in a statement on Wednesday.
“It is a politicized report that lacks objectivity and professionalism,” the ministry said.
“Anyone who works in the field of criminal investigation can tell that these photos are fake and bear no relation to prisoners or detainees in Syrian prisons,” the ministry said.
The statement said some of those in the photos were “foreign terrorists” killed during attacks on government forces, and others had been killed or tortured to death by “armed terrorist groups”.
“Syrian prisons… are in accordance with internationally recognized best standards of justice,” the statement added.

Read honestly, this statement presumes the photos show actual killed men, but coming from both sides of the conflict and just misrepresented. The word "fake," as used here, seems to mean dishonesty in the staging or presentation of the images, something that the process of criminal investigation and the photos themselves should reveal. We don't know just what the MoJ means here and how valid a point it is, but here are some examples of the type of thing they might refer to:

  • "Caesar" deciding to forego the usual one-victim-at-a-time rule and stage a photo of numerous corpses, to elicit more horror. He in fact says he did this, at a later point when he was planning to defect, to "make the place look like a slaughterhouse." (see report, p. 13-14) And in fact, he arranged several such group photos, the ones most often cited to elicit Holocaust parallels.
  • In one such photo, the first one released as a preview on January 12, someone has abnormally scrawled Eastern Arabic numbers on their sunken chests - prisoner numbers in the 2,350-2,360 range, with 215 beneath, meaning killed by Military Intelligence Branch 215 prison. This is verified by cards with the same numbers written on, but if one knows what 215 means politically, what a large prisoner number looks like, and can spring for a marker, no special regime powers are needed to create this proof, and it would be properly called "fake."

However useful it may be as the one known government rebuttal, the MoJ statement might be more of a general statement of principle and presumption than an informed or even specific refutation. It's not clear if the MoJ would know about practices in the MI prisons implicated here. Also note the standard "party line" terminology: "foreign" over "domestic," "hostile states" over "international community," "terrorists" over "freedom fighters," citizens support the state and the state fights terrorism, etc.) A more specific explanation might be helpful, but nearly a year into the "Caesar" project, it apparently hasn't emerged yet and precedent suggests Syria will remain tight-lipped in their usual mode, knowing whatever they say can and will be used against them. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:31, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

"Trolling" for Truth

FWIW, one interesting conversation with a self-described Syrian opposed to Assad. main part My best line: "we agree he's shot, good" when he accused me of "shooting the messenger." Photographer, with the cover story, not a simple messenger. "leave Cezar alone." Poor guy, all the stress and tyranny and need to hide FROM US with his stupid code-name. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:34, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

He probably has other connections to this case, worth adding or not. But this one struck me. Tyler Jess Thompson on Twitter:

@SenJohnMcCain has #Caesar photos on his desk and he looks at them daily to remember #Assad is the cause of #syria chaos. @WashInstitute

I stuck to making my obvious point (Caesar's ID can't be hidden from his bosses, so why the code name?), loving the imagined sound of people slapping their foreheads faraway. And it's still ides of March, I'm assassinating "Caesar." Coulda said I have a picture of McCain over my toilet in case in need help puking. Could have said something like you must get jaded being John McCain, needing a stronger and stronger fix of humanitarian I-am-Right!-ism. Consistent. A twisted being. etc. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:33, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Starting from that, a conversation where I got Tyler Jess Thompson to admit about the code-name, in the alleged context, thought through finally, "@CL4Syr you're right that it doesn't provide much protection. So you understand what a risk he took to make the torture known." I could have pushed it, but eh. The risk would be to his extended family still in Syria, or maybe to him and immediate kin by roving assassins. They wouldn't let anyone hear his voice! Afraid Assad agents recognize it, or analyze the recording to track the guy down and kill his family! But as soon as you think it out, you realize IF he's who he says the file is right there. The risk is, they'd know who he was from day one, but everyone acted like it could be hidden in this ridiculous way, and no one called it until I did. That's pretty sad. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:06, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Number of victims?

11,000 murdered and photographed by this one man alone. And this is only one of Assad's numerous torture centers. There must be similar gulags all over Syria, in Homs, Hama, Aleppo... with 10,000 victims each! This guy Assad must be as bad as Hitler! No, worse, he must as bad as STALIN! -- Petri Krohn (talk) 11:17, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

The number of alleged victims is suspect. I doubt he's rounding it down, anyway. It could be about the number, depending of course what really killed all these people, over what area and time span. As we're considering above, maybe this is just all combat dead, some mix of other related dead from both sides, just being processed in one place. Everyone knows tens of thousands of people from both/no sides have been killed in the capitol region. I'm not sure how possible 11,000 is from those imprisoned around there - seems high, but can't rule it out. But there should be more sign if this were an extra 11,000 prisoners no one's counted yet, or half of those known, or anything like that. Imagining holocaust icebergs from this one alleged tip, yeah - that's pretty lazy, stupid thinking. And it's being heartily encouraged, of course.--Caustic Logic (talk) 10:36, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Number of Photos?

I didn't have time to pull it together now, but this might be a good spot to also ask how many photos. There's a grand total of 55,000 handed over by the activists, but as I read, only about half - 27,000 - are taken by Caesar. What are the other half and where did they come from and what are they supposed to show? Of the relevant half, there are further subdivisions. Space below will have details later. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:40, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

  • Identity of Victims?

I'm not sure a body photographer needs to have a victim's file as he takes file-related photos, where their numbers are already right there. But it seems reasonable. Like image metadata, that's important information beyond the picture proof of "hey a dead guy." Names might have been hidden from him, or often impossible to copy down/remember, or whatever. But it seems to me he might have been able to provide names for many these thousands of detainees if his story is true. It would really make the value of it a whole lot better. But so far I haven't seen any mention of any names being provided anywhere for these crucial victims. It could be that some names would match records of people known to have died in various ways, so they left that file out and it's down to just images of the physical remains. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:50, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Carter-Ruck's 11,000 Estimate

From the January report (should have checked this sooner), the 11,000 voctims estimate explained: The defector who was codenamed “Caesar” by the inquiry team had, during the course of his work, smuggled out some tens of thousands of images of corpses so photographed by his colleagues and himself. Other similar images have been smuggled out by other people. In all, approximately fifty‐five thousand (55,000) images have, to date, been made available outside Syria by these processes. (p. 4) The proportion isn't clear, but "tens of thousands" are from Caesar, and the rest from ... elsewhere, with no known fancy cover story to ensure they're all regime victims. Somewhere it's said to be about half-and-half. "Ceasar" only gave the FBI about half - 26,948 pictures I think, holding the rest until they act forcefully enough on the first half (hasn't happened yet, he thought at the end of October). Let's say Caesar's portion of the 55,000 is X, between 20,000 and 30,000. Next step:

As there were some four or five photographs taken of each body this approximates to there being images of about eleven thousand (11,000) dead detainees. (p. 4)

The 4-5 images-per-victim rule is something they observed in the 5,500 image subset the investigators actually examined. Maybe it extrapolated across all Ceasar's pictures, and all the rest, maybe not. But considering all this is about Caesar, his photos, his story, we should take 20-25% of X, his share - a broad range of 4,000 to 7,500 victims suggested. Or 20-25% of 26,950 taken as his (rounded) share = 5,390 to 6.737. They have a count on how many individual victims they examined: 835, out of their 5,500 examined photos. (p. 17) --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:21, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

The Other 11,000 Estimate

Belated 2018 update: Oddly, as Carter-Ruck floated a bogus reason to claim 11,000 bodies, a separate 11,000 bodies claim was lodged later and more solidly. This comes via the Caesar-linked SAFMCD and others, noting the hospital/medical report/body numbers running that high. This is close to true at least. Numbers run to 5,000 then reset, and reach 5,000 and reset again, so we see numbers at the end just past 10,000. (10,003. 10,024 and no others happen to be visible. Many other have numbers unseen, but that sampling of 2 stops so early it seems doubtful it runs to 1,000 past that line. Somethin like 50-100 is better suggested.

But it's a fairly small issue. Apparently 10,000 bodies were logged, probably as unidentified, from conflict's start to Caesar fleeing. They come mainly clustered in the last 10 months or so, near 1,000/month on average (see [File:Caesar Photos Timeline 2018 Revision.png 2018 updated timeline]). Only about 2/3 of these (app.6,700) are seen in the photos, mostly looking like badly abused prisoners of someone. What the other 1/3 or so looks like, unclear. Even now, I only cite the photos showing thousands of men and boys clearly held prisoner by someone, plus some other less clear bodies. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:43, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

Sectarian Breakdown

Considering the basic presumption these are rebellious people or suspected of such, and would be overwhelmingly Sunni, this section is for anything contradicting that. Obviously, there's the Christian victim, photo #25 in the list below. From there, largely there's discussion of Alawi (Alawite) victims (of president Assad's minority sect, derived from Shi'ism). --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:19, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

A couple of things I'd missed so far - on a news search, saw this steaming pile in Foreign Affairs by a supposed expert, Oula Abdulhamid, outlining how Alawites are finally calling for Assad's overthrow in late 2014 (some self-described Alawi with an "assembly" and a website and no grasp of the facts, so probably most of 'em, are cited - see here]) because so many have been killed ... by the government I guess. Anyway, among the powerful and confusing points raised in support is this ref to our photo defector.

... Today, these humble villagers are the ones paying the heavy price of the war, as Assad’s government uses their sons and daughters as human shields at the front lines; they are also the ones rebelling against the regime, but they are powerless. In fact, the leaked photos of Syrian torture victims—surreptitiously given to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum by a member of the Syrian military who goes by the name of Caesar—serve as vital evidence that members of the Alawite community were also victims of Assad’s brutality.

Is that a fact? We can see one Christian is among these possible rebel hostages. It's supposed to remind us of Alawite murders as well? I didn't see anything yet, but the author must've read something making that connection and thought we all did. I suppose it comes down to, at least, a comment Caesar made before Congress that can be seen in this ARA News article

“Torturing was long-scale and systematic, which included children, women, young men and elderly people, no matter Christians, Muslims, Druze or Alawites,” he said. Caesar pointed out that torturing orders were received from senior leaders in the Syrian regime. ... Speaking to ARA News, Basam al-Ahmad, spokesperson of the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria, commented on the issue saying: “These documents will not justify the international intervention in Syria as there is no interest in that.” “Barrel bombs thrown on Aleppo by the regime’s warplanes at mid day need no files and documents to prove it,” al-Ahmad said. Commenting on Caesar’s point of “having different sectarian and ethnic backgrounds among the detainees”, al-Ahmad told ARA News: “That’s true. However, the majority of detainees are of one faction (in reference to Sunni Muslims).”

This vague claim is "vital evidence" in that pool of evidence for the government killing innocent Alawites? That suggests there's not much else going for it. I noticed the once-trumpeted Aqrab Massacre of hundreds of Alawi civilians is not listed among their gripes here... --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:22, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

Later on, I see what they may have been talking about. Zaman al-Wasl, yet again, on March 15 posts about Shabiha-looking victims: "New Mass Torture photos for Alawite victims." English with 3 intact photos, 32 broken-image icons, maybe unrelated. Arabic version has just the three. "New photos of mass torture obtained by Zaman al-Wasl showing, for the first time, pro-Bashar al-Assad militants who were killed in Syrian security chambers. ... photos showed Alawite militants being tortured to death in security departments." They also say "Zaman al-Wasl deliberately insists to show the face of the victims in order their families and relatives can recognize them." One man has an identifiable face, a Bashar Assad tattoo on his chest, and a large hole in the side, pouring fresh blood. But the other two show only tattoos, not faces; another Assad, a curved sword with words, looks Shia to me, so possibly Alawi. Supposedly means part of a pro-government militia or something. Public IDs may not be so forthcoming here, even for the one guy. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:19, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

Image Analysis

(there may well be some analysis here of the actual images that have been publicized - forthcoming...)

Photo Catalog

First thing to anlyze (or whenevr we get to it, like now) is the number, timing, and location of the images available to us. I just completed a pretty thorough tally of 35 images total. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:17, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

I've also checked the Carter-Ruck report and found its figures cite all the same photos covered below. I can't think of anywhere there are others beyond this 32 36 and maybe 33 37 photographs. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:54, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  • 1 Pre-released Jan. 12 through Syrian activists as starved victims of Brach 215: see here and "Caesar" link confirmed here Jan. 21 (Our Jan. 12 source, Yalla Souriya, is now "private")
    • (2-11 released via CNN, slideshow - image links will be from other sources (later)
  • 2 (starved man) Royce, House
  • 3 (starved man) Royce, House
  • 4 (neck marks) still
  • 5 (neck marks) still
  • 6 (about to get neck marks?)
  • 7 (starved man)
  • 8 (chest torture/burns) still via CTV
  • 9 (starved man with bad chest torture) BBC
  • 10 (starved man with bad chest torture) CNN
  • 11 (starved man)
  • 12 (cannot pull up image) (torture, burns)
  • 13 (decayed)
  • 14 (cannot pull up image) (elderly, starved, eyes popped out
  • 15-18 from Zaman Alwasl, Lebanon, May 23
  • 15 (heavyset/bloated man with cuts all over belly)
  • 16 (chest burns in a neat band, right eye gouged out - also shown here Aug. 1)
  • 17 (nasty leg burns, maybe not torture)
  • 18 (a man sits and takes notes over a mangled corpse)
  • 19-21 combined in one photo Zaman Alwasl, May 23
  • 19 (left)
  • 20 (same link, middle - burns)
  • 21 (same, right) (also shown June 11 at Anadolu
    • 22-29 from July 31 presentation to US House of Representatives, put online by Ed Royce, House, July 30 (listed by title "photo 1"- "photo 10", not in order displayed)
  • - (duplicate - see 2) (photo 1 by title - starved man)
  • - (duplicate - see 3) (starved man among others) (these are shown at bottom anyway - visually, it sr=tarts counting at the top, photo 3)
  • 22 (hangar, dozens of men, many bagged and piled)
  • 23 (starved man, green shirt)
  • 24 (hangar, 13+ men, side view)
  • 25 (starved, tortured, crucifix tattoos)
  • 26 (starved man among others)
  • 27 (extremely starved)
  • 28 (chest torture, electrodes)
  • 29 (horrible chest torture, carved)
    • 30-32 USHMM video October 7 (9 photos cited, 6 duplicates, three new images, numbered)
  • group (see 24)
  • starved men (see 11)
  • 30 - foot torture/burn/disease/decay (?)
  • chest torture (see 10)
  • electrodes (28)
  • 31 - chest, arm, armpit torture, gouging/pitting
  • hangar (see 22)
  • note-taking (crop from photo 18)
  • 32 - chest torture and chain (1:42) still via Daily Mail
  • 33 - starved, pitting/sores on arms and legs O-G
  • 34 - eyes gouged out - a lot of the blood came out right here in the morgue garage - on-site job? O-G
  • 35 - old man, not starved, no visible marks - IHH:[800x532].jpg (breaks the link format)
  • 36 - array of at least 6 young men, mostly starved, some blood, little visible injury IHH --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:03, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
Caesar lefthand.png


  • 37? (torture, left hand grotesque infection, close-up) (source? I found it recently, thought it was USHMM-related) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:17, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

It came up in a search and I saved a copy, thinking the source would come up again, but it hasn't. Worth uploading here I wonder? It looks just like part of the set with blurs and all, except the writing is in red. Don't think that's on any of the others. Yeah, at the risk of being mixed-up, I've uploaded it and inset it here. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:54, 19 November 2014 (UTC)

  1. 37 is definitely included. With this Global Post article on things "Assad" is still wrongly blamed for, that image is being projected for point 12, "murdering with strange materials" and/or "the use of unknown materials during the torture." --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:52, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Some Analyzed Images

  • Man with carved flesh: (#29)
Caesar Assad carved graphic.png

I'm not sure what causes this - men with little knives, or maybe chunks of white phosphorous, or what, but this pitting of peoples' flesh has been seen in some cases (the Daraya massacre at least, and the Hohammed family ) where some clues say the victims were rebel captives, while rebels with access to the bodies insist it was Shabihha who scooped holes, largely in the belly, the arms, and inner thighs. Here' it's Assad jailers allegedly doing it. Further, a careful look suggests this man's throat was sliced wide open, at least on the right side (the rest being unclear). Slicing throats is often an Islamist thing, but here allegedly Assad jailers are doing it too. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:20, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Update: I was too eager to see an Islamist slice, which it seems doesn't happen in these photos. He has a tear under the chin, maybe a cut or the same type of wound we see elsewhere (bullet exit holes? stab wounds? shrapnel?). ALso this victim has been matched to SAFMCD entry j-8010-000 (1)-855383, so held and killed by Air Force intelligence. VDC entry says, interestingly, he's from Daraya, listed as arrested in December 2012 along with 5 other Daraya Dabbas men. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:47, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
  • A Christian Man: (#25)
Caesar Torture Christian.png

This alleged Assad victim is, by his several visible tattoos, a Christian - not a community known for rising up en masse against the government, and not connected to the supposed genocide of Sunnis "Caesar" claims the photos document. In this view, we see two crucifix patterns on right upper arm - other views (same angle example) show another lower on that arm, and a small cross on the inside of his left wrist. Chances are there are even more crosses on the guy visible from other angles. Aside from an apparent stab in the right shoulder, it's not clear if he was simply starved to death or actually executed. Islamist terrorists often abduct and kill Christians, but here, Assad's jailers are allegedly to blame.--Caustic Logic (talk) 10:20, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

  • Old man with gouged eyes: (#14)
Caesar NOW 2 Graphic.png

This bearded, elderly man was abducted, starved, and exposed to smoke inhalation prior to death (the nostrils are black - see the same with the Alawite civilians taken captive by rebels in Aqrab, December 2012, and at least one victim starved in rebel-held Yarmouk in early 2014. Closer to the end, it looks like his eyeballs were gouged out of their sockets, left hanging loose. Islamists sometimes do that to infidels, whose corpses the goivernment might later find. Or as alleged, the government might do this themselves to avoid the wait. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:20, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

  • Decayed Victim: (#13)
Caesar NOW 3 graphic.png

This is another alleged victim of Assad torture, perhaps believed to be some kind of extreme waterboarding (??). It's so severe the person almost looks like the victim of a terrorist kidnap-murder, dumped in a creek face-down, and only found a week or two later. Maybe they didn't get their ransom. Or maybe they did and didn't care. But allegedly, Assad jailers executed him/her, then ... maybe ... dumped the body somewhere moist and retrieved it later? Signs: badly broken jaw, one eye missing, possible hole in throat. It's hard to divorce these from decay/predation and call it a certain feature of torture/execution, but they could be. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:20, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

This photo does not seem to appear if the SAFMCD database - maybe the only one of the early images (with a face to match) that's not included (all 3 above have been located)- but I thi nk I know where it would be. As I covered here in the decay section, there's a batch of wet-decay victims, 4 shown, very icky but much better off, in the folder for 251 "internal security." 3835, 3837, and 3839. 3836 is missing, but they have the photo - that reddish decayed person is shown in a SAFMCD video in some detail and alongside the other 4 at 6:54 (note: they consider these to be freshly dead person "mutilated" with "strange materials". Idiots?) By decay type, card writing similarity, and background, I'm pretty sure this victim is another from that set (but not included in the SAFMCD video, hm!). The writing, blurred, is 2 lines in all cases - internal security on top (I had that checked) and an extra-large number on the bottom, all in blue. With enhancements, I think I can say this card gives 3831 as the number. The 1 is clearest, and suggests still unseen images for (at least) 3832, 3833, and 3834, missing from the site and the video and not shown anywhere. Best guess is very rotten like this one.
These two or five are missing from the main place and that doesn't necessarily seem shady to me - the stated purpose of the SAFMCD site is not to produce a complete record, but to let people identify victims they can claim to know the story behind. And these faces are just not recognizable. But when there are about 4,000 implied victims not shown (see here), and we can see at least 2-5 in this batch are among those, we can wonder if this kind of confusing advanced decay is one of the things hiding in that missing 40%. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:32, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
There's also a 3840 in the batch. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:32, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Visible ID numbers

Caesar victim number 2615 227.png

As noted, most victims photos released have their faces and process ID numbers obscured. The two exceptions I'm aware of are the Jan. 12 "Branch 215" preview photo (#1), and the Wall Street Journal copy of the Christian man (#25). Using this chart of Arabic numbers, I've made my best guess what the numbers in each photo say.

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

٩ ٨ ٧ ٦ ٥ ٤ ٣ ٢ ١ ٠

Hindu-Arabic to Indic-Arabic link . Do you understand how multi-labeling works ?

last photo in the fourth row here.

955961 = photo number

B/2414 3414 --on a piece of paper somebody holds (not seen on all photos)

B01/2264 3364 on headband

--Resup (talk) 12:42, 2 January 2016 (UTC). Also Labeling seen file below

955 961 Symbol

215-3364-24-6-2013 (2) The original name of the image

215 - a secret raid and intrusion Group

Good, you got the file link, nevermind. card number is 3414/b or in their order b/3414. The written number her vs. standard is confusing, but 2 and 3 are so similar 2 is done like a C and 3 like a 3 or 2, but upright. Usually. forehead: 215|3364 (see diff. between 2 and 3). Original file name seems to always be (barring error) branch-victim# there-date-(number of photos of that victim, including this sample?) So he's June 24, top # on card would be 3364/215. --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:36, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
So, piece of paper in hand ups the count (by 50) and replaces B01 by B ? What's going on here?--Resup (talk) 14:42, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, didn't really answer the question. Top number is the number 215 assigned them when (whatever connection they had was formed). Bottom is a new number by hospital 601. My guess for reason is to document the bodies one last time right before going to the cemetery - this 3364 would be matched to cemetery records to find a grave site. The similarity is confusing, as you noticed - only about 50 apart. But it's two different numbers that are just close together. That reflects maybe that they re-set their numbering close in time (?) and the the numbers say fairly close because most victims came by way of 215, so 601's number is just theirs plus the few others. Did that explain it?--Caustic Logic (talk) 16:38, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Also, graphic now updated to explain more easily. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:43, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Photo #1 from Branch 215: that number appears on the victims (bottom line) The 2 number tends to be written poorly, but that's all it can be (see below). This is the bottom number, as can be seen, on all of them. The top seems to be victim ID. The clearest view in right front says 2359 (or 2351 and a wound). A chest two bodies over has top number 2355. Two others have 235 with last number unclear. Seems sequential, elaborate, something only a regime could come up with, right? --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:31, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

Photo #25 shows three numbers (inset at right): top is 2615. Beneath that must be 227. The bottom line seems to start (numbers go left-to-right, unlike words) with a letter ب (B sound) then slash, 4624. The 6 has overwritten what was a 9 (looks the same as our 9). The censored photo (high res) leaves his leg number intact - same but with a better written 2 that clarifies this frequent squiggle must be 2. So the unusual (to show) Christian man is one of those with a number that could be useful with more info. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:31, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

The 227, in the same spot as 215, probably refers to another branch of military intelligence. Human Rights Watch lists a branch 227 here. They hear this was headed by Brig. Gen. Sha’afiq, listed it second after 215, perhaps for notoriety. Wikipedia's page says 227 covers "Damascus countryside" --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:41, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

Photo #32, man in civilian clothes squeezed with a chain, has his face and numbers blurred out. But in the lower left corner, appears to be the same prefix as for #25, I think being the letter ب and a / slash. It's also seen in photos #2 it seems, and more clearly in #3. This might be on all of them or only some, I don't know yet. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:41, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

Important point: It's not at all certain the numbers written anywhere reflect an actual government-organized ID process. Scrawling on the bodies with a pen seems a bit crude, but given the bulk circumstances, it could be. But it's entirely possible "Caesar" (or whoever's work he's claiming credit for) staged these details himself, writing his anti-government narrative right on the bodies with erasable markers and on disposable cards. He'd do that when the rest of the team wasn't around, just him and maybe an accomplice or two, most likely, for fear they'd tell on him. The main scene of 12 branch 215 victims seems to have the clearest implications, and he admits he staged that partly for "slaughterhouse" effect (but claiming he did so with the team). Maybe he added these numbers at that time. Because in fact, hardly any other shown victims have numbers written on their bodies, just a card sometimes laid on them. The 215 victims and #25, the Christian, are the only ones I see with writing on the body. So we see a strange mix of methods at the very least... --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:41, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

An interesting thing about the apparent error on the card in photo #25, a 9 overwritten with a 6. Wikipedia lists the regular "Eastern Arabic" numbers plus a "Perso-Arabic" variant and an Urdu variant. The error here suggests someone most familiar with the Perso-Arabic version, where they write the 6 almost like the 9, but slanted. This is more a proper 9, but still... it might be a slightly defective hint by one Arab to others that Iranian agents are involved in cataloguing the dead in Syria. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:59, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

I understand that the bodies are partly covered for the Western audience, but why would anyone in the free, democratic West want to cover the identification cards? This smells like part of the hoax. Neither do I believe the story that the Exif data was deleted to save space. The Holocaust Museum should have made ALL of the original material available to investigators before displaying anything. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 09:42, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

Numbers, Letters, and Estimates

I've been skimming the HRW report, and find it interesting their 6,786 victims estimate isn't theirs but from the opposition group they got the photos from.

Caesar entrusted the images to the Syrian National Movement (SNM), an opposition political group. Members of that group formed the Syrian Association for Missing and Conscience Detainees (SAFMCD), including Dr. Emad ad-Din al-Rashid (head of the SNM’s political office) which took custody of the files. In March 2015, the SNM gave 53,275 unique files to Human Rights Watch...

There was an agreement only to use them for research purposes, and there was that number attached:

according to SAFMDC the 28,707 photographs in the category of dead detainees correspond to at least 6,786 dead individuals.... While Human Rights Watch did not do its own separate log of bodies, it had access to the SAFMCD database and can confirm that their an analysis appears to have been diligent.

... which sounds almost like a body-by-body count, and also like a divided by 4-ish estimate, not clear on that. HRW says the SAFMDC "reviewed the entire collection and logged the photographs by individual body found," and they also noted most bodies were photographed 4 times, some up to 20, and "thus" got their number. So... ?--Caustic Logic (talk) 15:09, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

Next: somehow SAFMDC also came out with a higher number of detainees quite similar to what Carter-Ruck had initially said, using their own formula on a much larger set of images. That was what they felt the photos showed, while this similar number is just implied, by a formula HRW explains so:

The SAFMCD, which reviewed the entire collection, told Human Rights Watch that the examination number reaches 5,000 and then repeats with a letter after it: 5000a, 5000b, and so on. Based on the sequences of these examination numbers, they believed that the Caesar photographs indicate at least 11,000 bodies were photographed in Damascus military hospitals between May 2011 and August 2013, when Caesar defected. The photographs that Human Rights Watch reviewed show 6,786 bodies, according to a comprehensive analysis conducted by the SAFMCD.

They seem to be explicitly not endorsing that, but passing it on. Might be handy. I'd like to compare that to what we can see, but I'm not sure I understand the system. It sounds to me like (it's saying) they used just numbers (no /letter) from 1 up to 5,000. Then, to slow it down, they started 5,000/x etc. where x = Arabic letters in their alphabetic order. So after (# of letters in their alphabet) you'll finally see 5,0001/next letter, cycling through again. All numbers under 5,000 would have no letter, all above would have one, and the distribution of letters should be random. But ... I'm wondering what anyone else thinks. Is there a better way to read that? --Caustic Logic (talk) 15:27, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

Could use a second opinion, because it still sounds the same to me. If so, it's bunk. Consider alphabet order: true to name, a and b sounds (aliph ا ) (ba ب ) are at the start. From there, the order differs (Hijai order is more common now, but "never used as numerals," so not clear). But both orders are the same for the first two letters. In several cases - all I have in my file - we only see those, and no instances of the other 26 letters. And all but one are under the second letter. With 12 examples, 11 bs and 1 a, this can hardly be random distribution or fit with the straight reading of the SAFMDC system. Note also the one apparent "Shabih" (or loyalist anyway, given a name like HRW says pro-regime military martyrs are) has taken one of the Bs ... does that mean he and maybe others are included in this implied 11,000+ detainees?
  • Rihab - 2487/ب

(by ref # above)

  • 2: obscured/ا
  • 3: obscured/ب
  • 12: obscured/ب
  • 25: 4624/ب
  • 26: obscured/ب
  • 32: obscured number/ب
  • 34: obscured/ب


  • man w/Assad tattoo 2441/ب (name below instead of branch number)
  • starved 2747/ب
  • starved 1992/ب
  • starved 761/ب

--Caustic Logic (talk) 07:54, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

Perused the SAFMDC website (the Facebook set is long gone) - found at least a dozen more examples where the letter and sometimes number can be seen. See two examples in row 4 on this page. In all cases, it's b. So it's like 23b, 1 a, and 0 anything else. From this, my guess to its purpose would be: for when the same number was accidentally issued twice, maybe common on rushed days. The second one is re-marked with a b (second one). Sometimes they would goof up and put a. We might occasionally see the third letter if they managed to issue the same number three times. And that's it, in my guess. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:29, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

I went over this with a few people. While this seems to be what HRW says, I think the smartest is to presume they meant to say after 5,000 they start over at 1/a, up to 5,0000/a, then recycle with b. And then, they should have said they skip a (implied in first set) and start with /b. WThus, we only see nothing or b, and the one a. But does this even fit? Will see... --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:58, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
But I probably have to shelve the idea that /b means just an extra copy of a number, logical though it is - we would see mainly non-b numbers with occasional extras marked. I checked the SAFMCD site, 215 branch, a couple pages mostly from June, for cards where we can tell what's at the left end of the bottom number. I found only 5 cases out of about 200, and all had b. I've seen ones without, but not sure where, what it means. But, whether there was a previous cycling or not, there was at least a time it seems all numbers used had /b attached. So maybe it is like the corrected version of what HRW said. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:58, 2 January 2016 (UTC)

Furthermore ... (sorry for long-winded sidetrack, but it bore fruit here). I can vouch for the nearly-7,000 estimates, and also I think for the switch-over at 5,000.

  • HRW has 6,786 detainees, and I hear a French book by Garance Le Caisne reached a count of 6,627. I checked the SAFMCD website, each folder, and counted how many pages, x80 photos per page except the last, and got a total of 6,850. I saw one victim I'm sure is double-listed (second instance, and the first is in another folder... AF intel maybe, not 215). There may well be more, but they seemed to be all face shots, with one photo mostly = one victim. So my count will be high, and both prior estimates sound good. The question will be whose detainees these really were. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:36, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
  • The alleged switch to /b at 5,000 also seems about right. There aren't many of these numbers visible, and they aren't given with entries like the branch victim # is. But I've found enough examples to say number with no prefix reach 2102/nothing (but different, in green ink) Nov. 1, 2012, 4710 was reached in March, 2013 (undated). Then, lucky break, 4887 (in another photo of [366997 this victim,] also undated March, 2013). Then, still sometime in March, we see 357/b, later 861/b, etc. up to Rihab's 2487/b on June 4, 4230/b June 24, and maybe nothing newer than that available. But the numbers say at least 7,128 victims were processed between Nov. 1 and June 24. That's over 1,000 a month on average, and they seem to come mainly in a few huge batches on those and some less clear dates between. Another few thousand before and after seems reasonable, and they seem to mainly be after (up to August 14). --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:36, 3 January 2016 (UTC)

Terrorist Numbers?

Caesar Hybrid Numbers Comp.png

As included in Fail Caesar Part 6: Evidence the Victims were NOT Prisoners of the Government, a fair point to consider. Is this the government finding unidentified bodies ... already labeled by someone else as fake-unidentified (meaning, probably, anonymized hostages)? Of course anyone can write numbers on masking tape, but ... we can see rebels for sure do it, on people who seem to be their captives.

Note these Ghouta unidentified victims (maybe as many as 865 numbered for lack of anyone knowing their names...) died maybe a day or so after Caesar stopped documenting the other tape-numbered people in the same basic area... Some thousands of men and boys - often in a similar state from gassing, on top of prior abuses - had passed through in the preceding months. It could be so many were sent because the terrorists writing out these numbers knew "Caesar" was there to "confirm" the lie, simply by re-writing the numbers on an index card also including the actual hospital number, at an official facility with an official position he was abusing. Viola - victim of a terrorist chemical genocide re-branded as victim of torture at arbitrarily-selected branch of military intelligence. And that could be just what this is. --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:27, 15 February 2016 (UTC)


Caesar 22 darkened.jpg

The options for this are very limited in the 36-37 available images. Only #22 gave enough clues it seemed worth bothering to check. And that's with the area narrowed down to the place to check - Mezzeh military hospital, or hospital 601 as some call it. Team Caesar's Rashid says one photo at least, perhaps all, were taken at the garage of that hospital because the morgue was already full. The hospital grounds on Wikimapia. The likely garage area would be the western lots, especially the larger area. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:11, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

The photo is roughly mid-day, so taken facing partly south. The open side faces partly north. Other buildings are unclear but nothing tall to the southeast. A high row of small windows on the south and east sides lest us see that, plus tall pine trees south and at least a bit on east side of this building. Behind the trees and all across it seems a steep slope rising above with scrubby vegetation right behind the place. Garage size: about 10-12 meters deep (?), at least that across. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:11, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

I cannot rule out such a generic place at Mazzeh, and just that west lot has a couple possible matches along the south row of buildings - middle one seeming the best fit. It's got an apparent steep slope south of it, tall trees southeast, continuing east but with the line curving away. No view in Google Earth strengthened or weakened the match with a good view of the south or north face of any of these buildings.--Caustic Logic (talk) 13:11, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

One thing about that locale is supposed to be its unchallenged government control. Maybe this place's surface rules it out then. It seems it's been hit with bullets, and that some of what's blurred out is graffiti - often used to announce a rebel takeover of an area ... one odd bit inside is ambiguous: in English "ON LOVE" (left wall, a ways back and low) . left, just outside, pipe with blood on it? - at least 43 dead bodies here - probably about 50 - one of those "50 a day" days Caesar spoke of. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:11, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

new images of this hospital 601 area, and two named soldiers who worked there, were released in Jan. 20125. Between these links: 2015 1-11 2015 1-19 - --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:34, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

On March 15 or so Zaman al-Wasl published several more photos (including the one woman victim) at these two articles. I can't seem to link to individual pictures, but one shows the garage area with deep background. Art Wendley tweeted it here to Higgins (wrongly) as "First 'Caesar' photo published allowing geolocating of facility!" It is the best view so far. Casual review says it confirms my earlier analysis; these starved victims at least were processed here after being (killed? found?) by the government or allied parties. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:21, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Higgins paused his work to oversee a Bellingcat placement of the new photo. I suppose this is the best-yet single explanation of how this best-yet photo shows the area "Caesar" says he worked. But with much less, I already geolocated it last November, albeit with the less certainty than we have now. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:31, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

As the Bellingcat article notes, president Assad's palace is on the hill directly overlooking this area. It will be easy for many to presume he had this set up so he could personally monitor the corpses, maybe looking over his railing with binoculars and jacking off. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:31, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

2015 Identification Photos

The reasons to blur faces, to protect "Caesar", or the victims' families, or as I suspected to help protect "Ceasar's" story by complicating an ID ... are waived or challenged now as Team Caesar or someone with the photos releases some 4,000. All face shots, most mes shown several times, so real total not clear.

  • Exclusive English preview, as I've seen: NYT, March 4. Because th FBI et al. can only search US citizien type databases, and terrorism ones, they found only a few matches (meaning zero, I suspect, or...) "As a result, Caesar’s supporters decided to take matters into their own hands by posting thousands of the photos. “Regrettably, the F.B.I. has not yet disclosed its findings,” Mr. Cadman said. “That has prompted our team to make a very difficult decision to set up a process by which family members can go through a collection of images with a view to identifying missing loved ones that they believe were arbitrarily arrested, tortured and possibly murdered by the regime.” This may be the Facebook page, comments, or maybe something additional, not sure.
By publishing photos of the victims, the opposition is trying to make it possible for relatives to pick them out and, more important for potential legal action, confirm their nationalities. If some of the victims can be shown to have been dual citizens of Britain, Spain, Turkey, the United States or other countries, that would assist the effort to pursue charges for war crimes in courts in those nations, opponents of the Assad government say.;;
The photos are being published on two opposition websites: a Facebook page, StandwithCaesar, maintained by Caesar’s supporters, and a site that focuses on the plight of political prisoners and missing Syrians,

Points on looking at a lot of the photos (anyone add their own if they have any):

  • lots of multiple face shots from almost the same angle. It's as if the photographer, not just the compilers, were trying to fluff up the number of images. There also seem to be a lot of outright duplicates, or maybe separate photos that look exactly the same.--Caustic Logic (talk) 14:34, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
  • No one mentioned before that a huge number of the victims in Caesar's estimated 11,000 were killed by eye-gouging. But the Facebook list starts out seeming like about half of them had their eyes put out. Might be post-mortem in some cases, but the pained faces suggest some were alive. Further down the list, there are less of these, but it adds up. Probably a couple hundred such victims: most of them younger, with shaved heads (poss. military) --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:34, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
  • More elderly faces here than the British inveticutors made it sound like. More apparent teenagers too. And a lot, proportionally, of people who appear possibly deformed, mentally disabled, etc. Being dead makes you look kind of messed up, but still... seems noteworthy.--Caustic Logic (talk) 14:34, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
  • One photo of just a tattoo, cropped of all else. Looks like Bashar Assad with sunglasses. Yeah, that's bait. More context needed. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:34, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Didn't see a single sliced throat. No rotten people. At least one random facial torture to an older man who looks just nabbed off a farm. One inside a clinical place, most on the dirt. Only a moderate percentage seemed to be starved people. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:34, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

There was at least one release prior to March, via the even=favored Lebanese daily Zaman al-Wasl. Feb. 1, 46 face-shots - later postings with the same: Feb. 7 Yandex Translated: "Detection lawyer Pope Benedict XVI said. preferred not to be named, for information pertaining to the victim. (37) from among the images..." (?) March, 72 numbered victims --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:53, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

New Victim Claims

  • 3-31 In time for Easter, 3 Christians identified - one being the guy we noticed, two others being (identified?) starved men devoid of tattoos. "At least three detainees belong to Syria's minority Christian community were identified among leaked mass torture photos, according to the Syrian Association for the Missing and Prisoners of Conscience." --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:13, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

Palestinian Victims?

On Twitter I see two photos just now showing two victim tattoos (but not faces!) in the shape of a united Palestine. one, pretty thin - the other, totally starved. Implication: "Assad" is starving/#syriamasstorturing the Palestinians of Syria, because he's way worse than Israel, almost as bad as Iran. Probably to be spelled out in article that adds nothing but that made explicit. These are all over Syria, but especially in places like rebel-occupied Yarmouk "camp," where rebels ran security, food distribution, medical care, etc, and where Palestinians were starving to death in moderate numbers of acknowledged cases, and maybe even more un-reported ones, starting (the acknowledged part) at the same time "Caesar" says he was gathering his last photos and preparing to run, and getting worse after he left.

Explicit speculation, similar to elsewhere on this page already: Rebels (whichever) knew there was a defector gathering morgue photos, and so created starved masses of men in secrecy (for the moment), in early August, or so. Then they starved off a more mixed lot including women and children, that time to be publicized in real-time, running over time like a real famine would, hoping no one notices rebels are the plague causing any such famine in their turf, and ... serving as a preview of and test run for the big, holocausty half to come. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:19, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Publicly Claimed Victim IDs

Of course, anyone with one of the victims' stolen photo albums or less will be easily accepted. And there will be claims; it's pointless to set all this up and not get some publicized, dramatic claims, maybe regarding a face that can easily be shown, and showed promise... . In anticipation, a section for these. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:34, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

I'm hearing there have been some, on Twitter, where I'm asking after reports.
  • March 7 Zabadani families have started to identify their sons from Caesar’s leaked photos of killed detainees, we pray for them.
  • March 10 According to LCCs, at least 75 martyrs have been identified from the leaked Caesar torture photos in the #Damascus area. #HowManyMore #Syria. A follow-up adds "Daraya is highest so far with 30 identified martyrs followed by the Dumar area in Damascus with 17 & Zabadani 17."
  • Okay, hashtag #HowManyMore Overall issue of about 200,000 Syrians all killed by Assad. But also all kind of other issues. The campaign account in question is How Many More Syrians. They must be the ones who commission a giant book with half the names printed out. Surely with accurate background info and no rebel victims. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:58, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Qusai zakarya 11 March "Ppl N #Syria are busy looking at leaked #CaesarReport photos searching for their love ones, I found few of my own" Provides one pretty good match, same guy alive then dead. WHo is it? I asked for specifics. The claimant is s Syrian citizen-journalist, activist who gives talks, and allegedly survived a chemical attack. Should be a rebel family, if these are real family members and he's not just laundering photos people handed him. That would be unimaginable! --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:40, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Whoever made it, this match is less convincing. Could be the same, if they have supporting details, but could just be similar-looking guys. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:40, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
The given ID is Hussam Soraiem, identified by March 10 (Facebook). He's included on this March 16 opposition list (Arabic) of 36 Daraya martyrs identified so far. The VDC lists no one dead by that family name, and two detainees, who might both be this same guy. Muhammad Hussam Soraim detention date 2013-12-28, but "Detention date is inaccurate." Hussam Soraiem has a photo looking like that guy, detained 2013-09-07 but "Detention date is inaccurate" here as well. (So ??) The second VDC page links tothis Facebook "community" page dedicated to Soraiem. The profile image shows him in front of the Syrian national (not rebel) flag, either meaning he was loyal or someone wanting to appear as wanting him free was trying that to tell that to his supposed captors ("Assad, he lovews you! Let him go!") Nothing else political one way or another. His missing status was first noted with the page's creation on Sept. 9 2013 (after Caesar defected with his photos and stopped including ant more) September 2014, still praying, a prayer in mid-January, then March 9 comments on his death and ID, page confirmation March 14. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:40, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

  • HalaHR_Rami again on Twitter. No photo specified but says one photo is of her uncle, first news at all since he was arrested 21/12/2011 - media activist - filmed protests and contacted TV. Another researcher talking to her says he's this entry at the VDC detainees database I pointed to - Rami Suleiman Aqbal. From Dael, Deraa like most here. Wasn't singled out as a journalist anyway. notes: wounded? No distinction in this database for captured fighters vs. political prisoners (vs. unexplained rebel kidnaps, for that matter) Why is his personal name in her screen name? Maybe in honor. Leith Abu Fadel is getting involved, was told off for doubting her, offering to check official (regime, cleansed!) records. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:01, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
Later Hala (account active since Oct. 12 last year FWIW) adds "I know all details about that day... Minute per minute.." and gives a run-down with no fighting. However, he was shot. Dael was reported as the site of several clashes: a previous arrest attempt on Nov. 30 ended with seven dead soldiers and 19 wounded. SOHR said on Dec. 21 "Twenty-two people - six deserters, a civilian and 15 members of the armed forces and security forces - were killed and several dozen civilians were wounded in their homes," (Wikipedia)
  • GEOrge (ArtWendley) is the researcher doing the most, and I'm following and engaging. He's pro-rebel but willing to accept that so far. Here is "1,000s of pictures of allegedly killed detainees released. Help identifying!" No identifications, but some side-discussion of some interest that goes on. Poor Art gets a little piled on.
  • tweet points to tweet saying Syrian journalist @MousaAlomar eulogizes another victim of regime torture: Shadi al-Hassan, Jordanian cab driver. Because he's not a pilot (killed by ISIS) no one cares, he stupidly claims. Translated there, it says 2 years ago (Spring 2013) Hassan was abducted at/from "al-Soumariyyah station" by Mukhabarat, along with his car. Station: edge of Daraya - [ on Wikimapia.]

IF abducted here, not likely by rebels. May not be true; he would drive a dangerous route, between Damascus and Amman. Might transport terrorists, not even require abduction. Possibly Smoke-stained nostrils, fresh shirt before photo, slightly starved but died of something else. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:02, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

  • ArtWendeley tweet points to another tweet saying "59 detainees from #Daraa have been identified so far from Caesar’s leaked torture & murder photos RT /Omar_Hariri_Snn" and linking to Daraa article in Arabic. It cites a "Registration Office of the martyrs in Daraa" making the IDs, up to one hour before publishing (so maybe more yet later). Some were tortured in prison, some killed in battle and the bodies disappeared, seen now for the first time. 55 alleged matches (no before photos) have names attached, 4 kept unnamed at family's request. Some pictures look unusual, but I scrolled way down; a couple definitely appear, and ones with the red numbers, including at least one from here, also appear, way down. So no later mixing-in that I can see. A few example entries I tried to translate different ways (rough):
    • 1) mhmd 'emr 'ebd alwaly almsalmh, Balad, Deraa. 2011-11-22 killed fighting, body taken
    • 2) Mohamed Ahmed Abd al-Wali Al-Masalma (same)
    • 3) ahmd khlf almsalmh (same)
    • 8) 8.Martyr Amin Jamil al-zoubi. the good character. " he died on 2012-05-30 after the battles with regime forces in the area between the towns of the good and-Mata'ya and has been kidnapped and his body (documented since that date)
    • 9) Martyr Mahmoud Suleiman zubi. the Al-yadouda in. He died under torture in the prisons of the regime forces, and has been documented on 2014-05-31
    • 10)
    • 28) alshhyd sayl hayl al'ewdat , tsyl
    • 34) eye gouged . Martyr Turkish Abdul Hamid al-Nasser, etc. inkhel. He died under torture in the prisons of the regime forces and documented the newly
    • 37) (twisted face) . Shaheed Abdul Hamid still awad al-zoubi. the cannula of. He died under torture in the prisons of the regime forces and documented the newly
    • 51) Martyr Mohammad Omar almjarysh it. mhajja in. He died on 2012-06-15 during clashes with regime forces near the town of trot (خبب khbb) and has been kidnapped and his body (documented since that date)
  • It became harder to find non-Roman Caesar refs on Twitter, right about the ides of March. But on the 16th appears this from 'tintin' "Yousef al-Rashed/rural Daraa, tortured to death in regime prisons. He was identified by leaked #Caesar photos. #Syria" Includes plausible before and after photos. I don't suppose he's martyr Ahmad Yousef al-Rashed al-Zoebi from Taybeh, Daraa, died under torture at unknown time, date of death or documentation 2014-08-16, too late for Caesar's pics and story if death date. Might be captive Yusuf Abdulrahman Rashed from Daraa: Khirbet Ghazaleh, age 50, detained in Damascus: Tadamun 2012/11/10, no release date. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:27, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
This ID was made by March 12: "Syrian Human Rights" tweet --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:40, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Dr. Muhammad Zakaria Naddaf ( محمد زكريا النداف )

See also Dr. Mohammed Zakariya Naddaf: #CaesarPhotos Victim Profile updated, April 2016. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:02, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

tweet: Dr. Muhammad Naddaf from #Damascus University amongst #Syria|n torture victims allegedly. #StandWithCaesar" Article from June 26, 2014, Syrian Observer: Regime Kills Damascus University Professor says Dr. Muhammad Zakaria Naddaf was on the university's sharia law faculty, and was already known to be dead, under torture, about a year after his arrest, which happened "about a year ago." He was detained with family (unsure number) for revolutionary activities, it says, and his wife was later released. It also says "The news came just fifteen days after a presidential amnesty was issued for detainees who were arrested on the background of the revolution. The martyr was supposed to be included in the amnesty. ... His family received a short note saying that he had died in the prison, without giving any further information." Same-time Arabic report, all4Syria says the death was "recently," (would have to be if it was a year after arrest and he was arrested about a year ago). When detained? Not sure. Found no articles easily. VDC detainees list doesn't include him, but maybe it did - he's been listed dead twice now: once in June, once now. If he was arrested with his wide, could we find her date? Could be Mariam Naddaf Detention Date 2013-06-29 - but that's inaccurate, as always. Says she was released on Sept. 29, 2013 after questioning, not in an exchange after 6 months. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:40, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

a thing he wrote in 2011 on Shia and "twelve" beliefs or the intro, didn't try to read it (could not form a great opinion anyway). video posted July 23, 2014 of Dr, Naddaf speaking. posted by Omar Ndaf, likely relation. trans: D. Mohammed Zakaria النداف the mercy of God - the city of good Damascus countryside - a brilliant speech in defense of the messenger of Allah. No mention that he was believed dead by then. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:24, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
Prominent Islamic scholar in Syria is arrested by the government, with family members including at least his wife, sometime in early-mid 2013. Wife is later released, people are hoping he is too. There should be some news reports about the arrest, some comments that he should be freed, etc. But so far in English and Arabic I can't find any. He's just suddenly dead after a year in jail, and later that's proven by photos. One type of arrest that might not get reported is one where both sides keep quiet as negotiations are ongoing, for example. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:24, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

  • Khaldun Abdo Shuqayr: One I can't couldn't initially read. In the recent photos run by Zaman al-Wasl, there's one guy with an unusual facial structure (deformity - flat nose, etc.) that makes him really identifiable. Might have been stabbed in the head. In this tweet they have a jpeg photo-match with Arabic text built in. Looks like he was arrested Oct. 1 2012. re-tweet --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:57, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
This guy IDd the same way, by March 9. Zaman al-Wasl tweet. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:17, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
SNHR list in English has him as #32- "Khaldun Abdo Shuqayr- Rural Damascus- Qatna (Was a Special Needs Individual)" --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:42, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Hussein Harmoush: Back in February, some people were being identified from a smaller preview set of images. One is the/a ringleader of the Jisr Al-Shughour massacre of Syrian soldiers in June, 2011. He's not one the gouged-eye victims here, but credible reports say his killers did that to soldiers in Jisr al-Shughour. He was seen as a hero to the folks at Zaman al-Wasl, who mention no fighting, just dissent, and floated a tentative ID on February 1. (English - Arabic) He was of course detained, as they put it, after being "kidnapped by Syrian regime in September 2011, from a refugee camp on the Turkish border." Reported killed by firing squad in Feb. 2012, but also reported alive at the end of 2013. Anyway, the Arabic posting has the picture match with victim 21. Arrows show how both men have eyebrows, a nose, a chin. The dead guy does not seem to have the distinctive dent in the mid-brow Harmoush has. So, as twisted as their praise for the guy is, I don't think this is him. And it's the best guess they could find, so he's probably not in there anywhere. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:17, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Another Feb. ID: Ahmed Nashwan/Shanwan Feb. 10 Zaman tweet Engineer, Ahmed al-Nashwan, #Daraa, tortured to death 2012. His family recognized him among #SyriaMassTorture photos. Zaman background article: Ahmed Shehadeh al-Shanwan, the torture’s victim appeared in picture 29 of Zaman al-Wasl publications showed victims’ images obtained from Mezzah Military Hospital. Shehadeh is an Electronic Engineer was arrested by the Air Forces intelligence while he was transporting Homsi people from Sayyeda Zainab to Jordanian boarders late 2011 to lose all connection with him later, but in the end they were able to recognize him among photos of prisoners killed under torture Zaman al-Wasl published few days ago."
"The victim’s nephew spoke on condition of anonymity about his uncle’s arresting: “my uncle was in his way from Dara’a to Jordan giving a lift to some people from Homs, when clashes among the Syrian regime’s forces and the Free Syrian Army to result in injuring his uncle. Afterward he and all who were with him in the van were arrested” Huh. But they weren't FSA? Either way, not good if he were tortured to death. VDC martyrs: No Ahmad Shanwan. Ahmad Nashwan al-Sabouni - Ahmad Nashwan al-Semmaqeih. Probably neither.
Detained: Khaled Shanwan, from Sayeda Zainab - a Shia-majority suburb of Damascus. detained not on 13-01-13. But no matching Ahmed in dead, detainees, or missing. A bit odd. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:17, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Rihab Allawi (see external article with more detail, including HRW report and discrepancies) the lone female victim we've seen and, it sounds like, in the whole batch of Caesar photos. She was finally seen in array of bodies in March Zaman releases, dressed in black. Zaman, background article: Rihab was a civil engineering student, from Mohasan in Deir Ezzor, a daughter of a former guard Tadmor Palmyra prison.worked for the Syrian revolution since its start in March 2011, died Feburary 2013. Activist Adnan Miqdad says he knew her, that her brother, Asim Allawi, the manager of the facebook page: “Association of Syrian Martyrs of Freedom" who was arrested in May 2011, probably died under torture. Rihab, VDC entry She was arrested by air forces branch from her house at Daheyat al-Asad on 16-1-2013 , they transfer her to the military security branch , she was killed under torture on 15-2-2013 , she was reported on 16-3-2013 , she was resident at Damascus : Tishren Neighborhood." I found no Asim - never seen the name Asim - maybe Hassan? Issa from Mohassan? - or maybe Hamis from another Deir Ezzour town (Bourques) - died under detention 14-2, the day before Rihab. I found no easy reports on the arrest of either one - it was apparently little-noted at the time, as with Dr. Naddaf. VDC list, all Allawi (family name) detainees - some may be under Ellewi, or other poss. spellings. All Allawi dead - note 9-26-12 to 10-07, 12 days - 10 killed in different areas by shelling, shooting, execution. 2013-2-06 9 executed, 9 days before Rihab and 8 before Hamis. Maybe interesting, maybe nothing. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:16, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
  • March 22: I took a break and came back, but it seems quick Twitter identifications took a break too. No new ones I saw. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:43, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Daily Star, Lebanon, reports March 20 "In recent weeks, over 200 families have received a form of closure by identifying the fate of their loved ones after poring over leaked photographs of the dead." A decent article, it addresses technical limits with this kind of identification, ethical issues with traumatized families, false hope, etc. and mentions the VDC is not participating. "Spokesman Bassam al-Ahmed said accuracy was a major concern. “After months or years of being held in dark cells and undergoing regular torture, the detainee’s features will definitely change, which makes it hard for people to be 100 percent sure of the identity of the deceased This goes against the VDC’s policy of accuracy,” he said." --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:43, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
  • March 31 5 middle-aged brothers Sorour from Daraa area were identified - arrested in August 2012, after a raid where another brother was executed (6 total) (all of course unverified) --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:42, 6 April 2015 (UTC)


Areas From

SNHR report (download page) says "We were able to identify the identity of 772 victims including a woman; amongst which 123 victims were recorded in our database before Caesar’s photos were published. We were able to identify some of the most distinguished victims," but the majority, oddly enough, were never reported to them as abducted by the regime. These included "A doctor, an athlete, a university lecturer, a civil engineer, two clerks, one media activist, two activists in the uprising and a female. It is worth noting that 49 victims were Palestinians who lived in Syria and a Jordanian resident." They give a long list of areas these identified victims were said to come from. Most of these areas just yielded one or two or a handful of victims, but the top ten are:

  1. Daraa: 204 victims, amongst which 21 victims are recorded in SNHR victims’ archive.
  2. Jadaydit Atrouz: 83 victims (any listed in their archive?)
  3. Doummour: 81 victims, amongst which 13 victims are recorded in SNHR victims’ archive.
  4. Daraya: 76 victims, amongst which 43 victims were identified by their families, and 33 victims were identified by victims’ friends and local activists. Nine victims out of 76 are recorded in SNHR victims’ archive.
  5. Al Qadam: 56 victims, 40 recorded
  6. Yarmouk Palestinian Camp - 44, 3 recorded
  7. Al Zabadani - 42, incl a doctor, 7 recorded
  8. Al Tal 33, 9 recorded
  9. Homs: 18 (none recorded?)
  10. Deir Al Zour 18, 3 recorded

--Caustic Logic (talk) 08:21, 11 January 2016 (UTC)


Isikoff writes in October "Because many of the photos had to be compressed by Caesar to get them to fit on thumb drives, crucial metadata — which would yield the precise date and time that each image was recorded — was lost." How much was lost vs. remains, unclear. Which photos lost their data and what it would say, of interest. [4] --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:22, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

In late 2015, Human Rights Watch had a look for their report. They say most metadata was lost, but a bit remains. "According to partial metadata that is still intact on 271 of the photographic files, the photographers used Nikon CoolPix and Fuji FinePix model cameras." Dates don't seem to be indicated there, just in the folders they were saved to (running from May, 2011 to August, 2013). --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:29, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

The material below is based on the earlier Carter-Ruck report.

Moved from #Starting Thoughts

No sign whatsoever of forensic examination of the digital media - the jpeg file data as compared to what they portray. This is normal procedure. EXIF data would show actual image dates - not the file dates you normally see, plus usually the camera model and sometimes serial number and GPS coordinates. Failure to do this basic and very easy check indicates to me they didn't want to know the answer. At this stage the images could easily have been from Qatari prisons or more likely from Libya.

I'm reminded of the Mandy Rice Davies quote "He would [say that], wouldn't he" --Charles Wood (talk) 01:48, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

EXIF Data and Sniffing Out Rats

Moved to Category talk:Investigation#EXIF Data and Sniffing Out Rats

Signs of Willful Avoidance

It seems like no one promoting this photograph proof of an "Assad crime" has actually checked the metadata.

As the BBC reported, the UN's people haven't had a chance to verify:

Rupert Colville, spokesman for UN human rights chief Navi Pillay, told AFP: "This report is extremely alarming, and the alleged scale of the deaths in detention, if verified, is truly horrifying. [7]

As the New York Times reported, citing a State Department official, that back in November "a State Department official viewed some of the images on a laptop belonging to an antigovernment activist."

The United States did not act on the photos for the past two months, officials said, because it did not have possession of the digital files and could not establish their authenticity.
That supreme caution will be why they didn't say anything until someone else did, just now. And also why they couldn't/wouldn't vouch for the metadata thus far. Finally, they've been verified, apparently, because officials are coming clean. Right?
For now, the White House and the State Department are expressing outrage over the images, even as they caution that the United States has not independently authenticated them.
Well, maybe not directly verified, but run by the public and I guess accepted? That's kind of like verification. With Qatari-funded activist photos filed with lawyers in a friendly nation clearly in tune with the joint US-Qatari goals, there's no barrier to having verified them, in two months now, when the claim is this big, so big it need to now overshadow Geneva. The consistent choice, week after week - don't get your own copy, don't force yourself to say one way or another just who the photos really implicate in what. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:54, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

State Department Marie Harf said on the 24th "We have been working on authenticating them," Harf said of the photos. While they still hadn't done it, she noted the photos "are completely in line with everything else we've seen from the Assad regime." (AFP via Zee News)

But certainly the lawyers of Carter-Ruck and their investigators, with whom the digital photos were deposited, have assessed the metadata? They rigorously verified the visual content to rule out fakery, so a simple check should have added another level of supporting detail they could cite. Nothing in the report seems to suggest they did this, however.

  • Instances of "metadata" or just "meta" or just "data" = 0
  • "date" in evidentiary context, "coordinates," "location" = 0 matches
  • "files" gets one mention: "...a “dip sample” of images of one hundred and fifty (150) separate individuals was included from two randomly selected files for detailed (visual) examination."
  • "Digital" - "Thirty-­‐five images were uploaded directly to a secure server at Acume Forensics in the United Kingdom for assessment by Stephen Cole, an expert in digital imaging. It was confirmed to the inquiry team that these images were not digitally altered." Nothing about data, this is just the image content, and just for those 35.

And in fact, when explaining why they had to consider if the injuries were from combat, the report says "the images were said to have been produced during a time of armed conflict in Syria." If they knew even the dates on the photos, they would probably cite that, not the defector's hearsay. --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:23, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

I think this will be crucial. Everyone seems to be avoiding what should be one simple part of the verification process. There are two possibilities - okay, three, no, 4

1) everyone just didn't think to get/verify the digital files and the full metadata while building a case to unseat a sovereign government and make it as "proven" as possible. But as far as they know, it's probably all valid.

1a) it's valid

1b) it's invalid

2) It was recognized that that data weakened their case and so everyone pretends these are 1800s gelatin prints or something. (and most ways the case can be weakened by basic evidence like this will be fatal, IMO, making this probably a supremely unethical type of group avoidance)

3) As I was wondering, outside possibility, they want us to think 2, so they can slap us with metadata, true or not, "proving" whatever.

4) We're/I'm wrong and just missing where they cite, or show they considered, the data, and it's at least consistent with the story handed in stapled to the photos. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:20, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Turkish Aydinlik Daily reported on the 24th "Syrian negotiators in Geneva-2 speaking to Aydınlık Newspaper stated that they take the pictures which were released 3 days ago seriously and demanded a close examination to prove their authenticity." [2] Although those on the other side acknowledge they haven't done this, no one in the anti-Assad crowd is demanding what Syria here is, and what should be expected.--Caustic Logic (talk) 00:40, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Faking Metadata?

How possible is it to fake the metadata on a digital photo? Say, you take some Libya photos from 2012, make them say Syria 2013, omit that crucial part deliberately, wait for demands to see that data, then "prove" they're legit Syria images? I like to think ahead. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:33, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Trivial. There are countless programs that not only read but write EXIF etc. --CE (talk) 12:14, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. Wait ... you mean trivial in likelihood of being done, or a trivial feat that could easily be done anywhere? It seems this level of info is generally accepted as hard fact (harder at least than what people claim the photo shows), but there's always that hypothetical when dealing with information. I have no system knowledge insight to gauge it, really. I say we proceed on the assumption any metadata attached is valid. But to note: even if it's a one a million thing or whatever, that one time clearly would be a time like this, so that presumption is only so tenable. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:55, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
I mean it's trivial to do. Charles can correct me if I'm wrong but if you don't take the pics with EXIF directly from the camera or have the chain of custody otherwise ensured, there is no definitive value in image files metadata as it is as easily changed/deleted as mp3-tags in music files. If it's missing or implausible, that's of course a clue of manipulation. --CE (talk) 13:01, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
That comports with my actual feeling. I suggest we treat the metadata ... however. If I was actually to see it, I'd first consider it as if it were true and see how that pans out, and go from there, but it's all hypothetical. I'll have to stand by my four basic possibilities outlined above, with faked metadata just as likely as any other kind of deception we can already sense here. Thus the apparent absence of consideration of it could itself be part of the overall information strategy that's in play.--Caustic Logic (talk) 13:40, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
The problem with faking metadata is that it's very easy to get it wrong. That's why it's always safer to delete it completely. As an example say you alter dates in a series of images. If you do it wrong then the metadata for a corpse image may be earlier than the metadata for the victim enjoying a friendly beating.
In my forensic work I always work on ensembles of data as no individual file time and date can be relied on in isolation. I typically look at the entire history of a disk or memory stick and see where the files were created, have changed, have been 'deleted' etc. I use a 'timeliner' program to do this. I can also extract image metadata in bulk and run data mining scripts to get many interesting facts about the image sequence and camera(s) involved. It's relatively easy to spot anomalies such as images out of sequence or signs of editing. Most people are dumb. Most forgeries are crude. That's not to say that somone like me couldn't generate an internally consistent sequence of fakes that moves the metadata from say Libya in 2003 to Syria in 2012.--Charles Wood (talk) 22:04, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
Charles already said what I was going to say, only better. It is trivial to fake one piece of metadata, but not 50,000. The collection of metadata tells a story, it must be consistent with other parts of the narrative. You cannot shoot a schoolgirl on her way to school – on a Sunday! -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:26, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

Charles Wood is correct about the near impossibility of faking large amounts of metadata. A prime example is the failed attempts by the hoaxer Guccifer 2.0. In his first release he removes all incriminating metadata by copy-pasting the word document to another document template with fake "Russian" metadata. He inadvertently leaves behind some real metadata that links the template to Vice President Joe Biden’s office, where the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Vlodymir Groisman happens to be visiting at exactly the same hour Guccifer 2.0 emerges. Investigators later find out this was a false lead after they find the real source of the document template in the Podesta emails later leaked by Wikileaks.

Guccifer 2.0 later makes the mistake of releasing the whole contents of an USB drive. The Forensicator and Adam Carter have exposed how multiple layers of timestamps in the documents and the .zip files illuminate the path of the documents through multiple time zones and multiple operating systems. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:20, 25 October 2019 (UTC)

Timeline And Context

Branch 215 Victims: A Preview?

Described as: Corpses of former detainees of #Damascus Military Security Branch 215, marked w/ "215" & inmate number (YallaSouriya)

Just days before this revelation, a somewhat mysterious image, a likely preview of "Caesar's" stash, was "leaked" through anti-Assad activist channels. 12 or more starved and murdered men (see inset) were shown by an unnamed defector, probably "Caesar," with prisoner numbers and 215 written on their chests. Until there's clarification this is part of the main set, this should remain aside, and because of its special status it deserves a spot either way. What relation is there between the promoters of the preview and the de-classifiers of the Carter-Ruck-Doha-Nice-Face report? Etc. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:40, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Apparently Le Monde was given a special viewing by some activist dude who's also got a full set of copies of Caesar's stash. Citing this, Worldcrunch reported:

Le Monde was also able to see several pictures of a warehouse, turned into a mass grave, with some 15 emaciated corpses scattered on the floor. "This is the garage of the military hospital of Mezzeh," says Rachid. "That's where they throw the corpses when the morgue is full. All these bodies, all skin and bones: It inevitably makes you think about Nazi concentration camps." [3]

By the description, he could refer not so much to this photo but to a different one of the same scene showing a few more bodies. On the other hand, I'm not so sure this looks like the floor of a garage. Either it's the same, or two such scenes have been photographed by defector(s) and recently shared with Western media. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:42, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

Apparently this scene was staged "at the time “Caesar” was planning to defect," the Carter-Ruck report states (page 14) [1]. It doesn't specify when that was, but the Worldcrunch article says he defected sometime in 2013, [3] and the Mirror says his pictures run "from March 2011 until August 2013." The report continues: "The excuse he gave for group photographs to his colleagues was that in case they had missed a body they could go back to the group photograph." But really, "he had someone in his section take photographs of a group of bodies to show that the place “looked like a slaughterhouse”." That is, he did it for effect, for a striking scene that would make good propaganda, for which it was recognized later. “Caesar” told the inquiry team that he did all this “for the sake of Syria and the Syrian people so that the killers could be prosecuted to achieve justice”. I'm sure they found that, like the rest, "not only credible but ... most compelling."

Lebanese paper Zaman Alwasl reports a connection. Also running the activist photo on January 12, they reported on the 21st that the "slaughterhouse" photo they ran earlier was a preview from Caesar's trove. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:25, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

(Belated links for those reports) --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:27, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

SAFMCD database matches: the older man is code 650869 215-2348, bottom number 1459/b, folder 2-2013. Raw face, puffy eyes oozing mucous. Next to him in the sleeveless shirt is 215-2355], who has no clear signs. And 700045 215-2350 (same folder). He's starved and pretty clean, but traces of yellow mucous in and near his nose and in the corners of his eyes. Mainly, these guys seem to have been gassed with something like chlorine. AND FWIW, the other famous starved-guy group shot (photo 24 above) with the Jesus-posed guy in red loincloth - here he is, with blood and mucous out the nose as well. Just a bit before them - 215-2340, same folder. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:26, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

Starvation Timeline

Have we covered the starvation aspect and timeline aspect yet? (subject to move) As I recall, a whole lot of rebel captives started getting starved to death around Damascus in late August as one follow-up to the Ghouta massacre (also hostages, most likely). It's said Ceasar took photos up 'til August, when in the month not specified. That could be untrue itself, but presuming ... when in August? Were these starved people coming through at this time primarily? Did rebels already count any of these "regime prisoners" as victims of the human decency embargo that keeps them from sharing food in rebel-held areas? Or do the starved people come in more steadily, as the story implies, reflecting one of the government's many alleged policies of cruelty? --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:33, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

Just from what we've previously gathered on the pages for starvation in the Damascus area, on the pages Starving Children in Moadamiyeh and Yarmouk Camp"

Moadamiyeh (SW of Damascus) saw disproportionate deaths of children, with whom the supposedly scant food in the district was not shared well enough. The first records are August 31, two boys aged 3 and 7. Others died on Sept. 23, Oct 11, and Oct 13 (one per day). The same idea hit on in Hajjera (starting Sept 22) and Douma (Sept 26, a starved baby, following on a couple bad months for newborn infants and stillborn fetuses fetuses from lack of medical care, starting in June). The trend is just barely too late to fit in the given timeline for Caesar's photos, and anyway do not reflect the number of starved men we're seeing here, especially since some of those were documented and do not seem to match any of "Caesar's" victims (although a close check might show that wrong with a duplicate victim, and be quite interesting...) --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:36, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

Starvation in the Yarmouk Pallestinian camp, taken over by rebel forces in December 2012, has a timeline about the same - a near-fit. On January 26, 2014, as the issue was becoming prominent, I took note of VDC records showing 63 deaths of Yarmouk residents by "other," which is mainly or all by starvation. Those ran mainly from October 2013 forward, especially from late December onward. Of the 63, 38 are adult males, 15 adult females, 4 boys, and 6 girls. However, there was one stray case, a baby girl who died August 18 from lack of milk and/or maother. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:36, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

But ... what if there were a large pool of captives of all genders and ages, entire seized households of enemy people held around Damascus, and the men were starved first en masse (say a hundred or so) just before the others - mid-August, just before or at the same time as the Ghouta massacres. It's hard to imagine such a group getting counted only once - just "regime prisoners," not also included in the list of the starved, or of the mass gassed. But maybe it is a separate group, for a grand total of x gas victims in rebel-held areas, y number of starved people in rebel areas, plus these other dozens-to-hundreds of men allegedly starved over in some government-held facilities. If these all died at the same time, that would be interesting... --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:36, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

From the January report:

It was quite clear from the account given by “Caesar” that the emaciation of the bodies of those in detention was something that he regularly encountered when taking the photographs.
Indeed the emaciated bodies of those killed may well tell a story of starvation used as a means of torture.

In his account, credible as one may find it, ha's sure to clarify this was a "regular" thing, not something that came in any sudden spurt at about the same time starvation was used as a means of warfare and propaganda. This was alleged to be a regime action too, but there can be no overlap - those died in the general populace, NOT in anyone;s captivity, while these were starved well within regime-operated prisons, where things happen in ways termed "regular," "systematic," "methodical," and "unseen since the holocaust." --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:06, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

non-Muslim deaths

There were reports on non-Muslim deaths, "rebels massacre christian village" (May 2013), (published March 2014, date, place of recording uncertain). Not sure how reliable are the reports (especially interpretation of the footage), and how this fits other available information. --Resup (talk) 05:29, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

(the above being about Christians...) --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:23, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
Plenty of attacks, not as many even per capita as against Alawi, but plenty. All, however, unable to add much here. Some attacks and massacres wev'e covered listed here. May 2014 would be Duveir on the edge of Homs - disputed details, seems at least a small massacre followed by mass flight. Sadad Massacre in October, nearer to Damascus, a bit clearer. The latter article is crusader Shoebat going off. Is it "ritual?" I don't know, I suppose so. It's how they kill people. Maaloula, no known massacre, but maybe. Other smaller incidents of kidnapping, etc. might appear that we didn't notice yet. If we had a date for the Christian-seeming prisoner shown in Caesar photo #25, would be worth checking into again... But we don't, so oh well. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:29, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

"Caesar's" Contact

This is a central player in the "Ceasar" project, his apparently singular contact in the opposition, apparently the main guy he periodically slipped thumb drives to, and who later arranged for the fake death and extraction operation, for the photographer and his family.

(space to iron out those details) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:49, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

On page 15 of the January report in credulity, the "inquiry team" (better called the prosecution team) relate:

The inquiry team also heard evidence from “Caesar’s” contact. This witness wrote his name down for the inquiry team. The inquiry team cannot disclose his name in public for reasons of his own security.
The witness confirmed that he was Caesar’s relative by marriage and that he had left Syria five days after the civil war against the current Syrian regime had begun and established contact with international human rights groups.
Subsequently an information committee was formed in the Middle East to collect and document material as to what was happening within Syria.

From the information they give, I was able to identify at least one man who could well be the contact. But if he's in such danger, with his links to human rights and documentation groups, his date of flight given and already exposed as related by marriage to the highly-identifiable "Caesar" ... though I note the "confirmed" relation is probably better termed a "claimed" relation - the man playing "Caesar" may not even be Syrian, after all. Anyway, maybe it's best to just mention the relevance of this name. A few points:

  • It's findable in English transliteration, in a few early sources at least - but not rendered back to Arabic (at least as I did it, seems correct). If so, it's as if he doesn't even exist to Arabic speakers, so maybe a pseudonym (but not even al-Jazeera and the like? maybe I just did the search wrong).
I had it backwards. Try "رامي نخلة" Rami Nakhle. This brings up results in Arabic too. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:52, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
  • The country he fled to in March 2011 might be Lebanon.
  • The group subsequently formed, with him as a founding member, was the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, directed by award-winning woman lawyer human rights activist Razan Zaitouneh, who also manages the Violation Documentation Center of Syria (VDC). The report might refer to either or both of these, or neither. It's some crowd to be linked up with a founding member of. The VDC and LCC completely failed to document the massive and obvious Latakia Massacres of August 2013 of over 200 Alawi civilians that even Human Rights Watch had to call out pretty fully . They ignore lots of things like that, or sometimes list Alawi children killed in terrorist attacks in their "regime fatalities" database under "rank: civilian."
  • “Reporting the news, that’s how we started,” said Rami Nakhle, an activist in Damascus who fled to Lebanon this year and helps organize the committees’ work. NYT
  • Since March 2011, the LCC has played a key role in organizing anti-regime demonstrations and disseminating information about the revolution. Carnegie Endowment

So that's one possibility for "Caesar's" in-law and link to destiny, besides his proof of even being Syrian to begin with. Sound like a fit with the project and its operations as we're coming to understand them? --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:49, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

Where Are the VDC Records?

The following sections are rambling, marginally useful explorations of the martyrs database records for the Violations in Syria (VDC). At the time these weren't turning up and that seemed a bit suspicious to me. But of course these were mainly supposed to be secret killings. And later when a full 6,000+ face-shots were published in March 2013, identifications started rolling in. Where they are at VDC is under the death cause "detention-torture," mainly from March 9, 2015 - then to present = 1,200 total. Many of these, especially earlier, are "Caesar" photo victims as shown. Others without photos might be. Those from Deraa, Daraya, Dumar, Zabadani, etc. are quite likely to be. Nothing in any notes mentions Caesar, a defector, and particular means of identifying. I've found several matches. There are also some from before that date. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:53, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

The main point is that these victims don't really seem to have been reported as killed, but of course the better question would be how many were ever reported as arrested or missing. These each have their own VDC database. Detainees - missing. Even this question would take some cross-checking, but so far the record is mixed; Rihab Allawi was listed as detained at the time, as was Hussam Sureym, but several other men were never listed. What that might suggest one of 2 reasons:

  1. The arrests were so secret or of people out of the activist loop they simply never heard about most of them
  2. Most of those taken were enemies of the rebels, taken by them, and not reported. The remainder would be those who were worth mentioning because they seemed neutral to outright pro-rebel (Rihab was a LCC activist - Hussam, as VDC records, was FSA), but they wound up getting killed by terrorists on that side anyway for some reason. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:53, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

Another group, the Syrian Netrwork for Human Rights (SNHR) issued a report on the "Caesar" photos giving a breakdown of areas that 772 identified victims came from (see below). These show only a very few of the victims were ever recorded as missing. Of the 772, the report explains, only "123 victims were recorded in our database before Caesar’s photos were published." The three biggest categories: 204 from Daraa, with only 21 previously listed. Of 83 from Jadaydit Atrouz, it sounds like none had been listed. Of 81 from Doummour, they had 13 before. Why were a majority of these abducted people never reported that way? --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:53, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

First Look

Above the timeline of starvation deaths is considered, mostly from the Violations Documentation Center (VDC). Also, the possible connection between them and the LCC and "Caesar." Now ... the VDC frequently knows when someone was tortured to death in a regime prison, and that mainly happens in Damascus, it seems: just a few random examples of men from all across Syria, detained and taken especially to Branch 215 or Sednaya prison, to die under torture on or before some usually known date:

Aleppo Central prison doctor who defected, tortured to death in Damascus, Nov. 2012 - 19-year-old from Daraa, died Dec 18 2012, found dumped "near Air defense battalion between Atman and Tafas" after prison torture - Bus driver from Qarah, Damascus area, died Jan. 14 2013 in a hospital after prison torture - "defected soldier" from Daraa, died Feb 25, 2013 "under torture in a prison after his arrest six days ago by regime forces and his body was thrown on Homs : Damascus road." - 17-year-old, died May 2 2013 after release from prison, with torture. - A Harasta resident died June 29, 2013 "Under torture in the prison regime" - Jan. 14 2014, plumber from Rawda, Damascus, arrested July 2013 - "defected soldier" from Daraa died Feb 20 2014 "under torture in the regime`s army prisons in Sednya prison." - Guy from Idlib, died at Branch 215 in Damascus, May 8 2014, over a year after arrest - Latakia man imprisoned at least 2 years, released from Saidnaya prison in bad health, died not on June 25 2014: "date of death is not accurate."

But when hundreds of captive men are allegedly starved to death in these same prisons (or die non-violently at about that point?) the VDC seems to have missed all of them. Maybe some are listed as Detention-Torture like this guy who could well have starved to death - which should be listed under "other." But that's a big list of 3,336 people to comb through.

It seems impossible to do a search for two words anywhere in the notes (prison + malnutrition) - it's too literal, needs the exact phrase. However, all martyrs with "prison" in notes and "other" (incl. starvation) as cause of death = 52 total. Most of these are starvation and disease deaths during the rebel siege of Aleppo central prison in the winter of 2013. At the bottom of the list are two infants at the prison in Raqqah (?) who died from a regime milk embargo. But there's no sign of any of the hundreds of captive men in Damascus with death dates anywhere near the middle of 2013.

The total lack of preview is a bit suspicious; is it because these deaths were kept so secret, or because the VDC knew more than usual, but wanted it to appear completely "leaked" by the defector they knew was coming? --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:03, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

"Date of death unknown accurately"

Above I noted known inmate death dates as interesting, but being a bit illogical, it isn;t universally claimed. There are surely a few different ways of noting it, but one common phrase is "Date of death unknown accurately," usually preceded with "Martyred under torture in the regime`s prisons" - although some are shelling deaths, etc. There may be different labels used, but this one stands out, especially relative to the Caesar Project. The note brings up 1,038 entries over the course of the conflict.

Going month-by-month lets us see a pattern in its usage. The death date, in these cases, seems to reflect the documentation date - when the entry was added. This note existed but was only used 15 times before 2014 - one use in April 2012, and 14 from April to December 2013. Then the next year it was used 1,023 times.

It wasn't used in January 2014 until after the "Caesar" story about prisoners with some photos were publicly released on the 20th. Perhaps going off info they never had before, the VDC made a slow start with ten additions up to mid-April. Three came on January 23 and 25, all three "Martyred under torture in the military security branch prisons." One entry was added on February 1, six in March, and two in early April followed by a pause. (New imagers were published throughout)

Then on April 20 (shortly after UNSC presentation of "Caesar's" photos on the 15th) a rush of entries started - 50 more by the end of the month. A massive 244 were added throughout May ((the last 100 anyway are all "Detention-Torture," like most/all others, with execution not specified). June saw 145 more entries, with 87 in July, and 181 in August (after US House of Reps presentation with new photos released). September saw another 92, October had 116, and there are 100 so far in November 2014. This last is after the USHMM exhibit and its very few new images - they must be mixing in other, less public sources now, finally losing their follower status on this evidence, maybe gotten their connections back after trying to deny them for a while prior to Jan. 20 and in the Caesar Project's delicate infancy. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:45, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Possible Record Matches

Scanning around in various lists using different terms, some victims and batches have popped out as possible contemporaneous listings.--Caustic Logic (talk) 13:59, 19 November 2014 (UTC)

  • 2013-3-29 One to start with could describe either of two photos (#1, #24) where starved victims numbering near 15 (less with maybe some off-frame) and have 215 written on at least some bodies. These have names, 8 of them, with 7 unidentified, but not photos, and no mention of emaciation. Two likely brothers named Kwalke. "Detention-Torture" selected, possibly consitent with starved or the like without an explicit execution part. But that's too vague to call. It's in March, 2013.
  • List of 15 martyrs 2013-3-29 Shared notes: "Fifteen were martyred under torture in Military security Branch 215, each one months ago and buried in the town of Najha in Damascus Suburbs. A list of names were given to the police station in order for them to communicate to their families and for identification and personal purposes."

Report Analysis


  • How many bodies are photographed? It's said some 50,000 photos show about 11,000 victims, which is where "industrial scale" comes in, and implications of government authorship flowing from that. If they aren't from Syria, this is irrelevant. If they are, it might be relevant. But first, are there even 11,000 dead proven here? There's also, as CNN mentioned, "a group of photos of 150 individuals examined in detail by the experts." Is it possible that's all there actually is? Will watch for an answer. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:27, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
Why the inquiry believed Caesar
Because they Already Did
The inquiry team found that the witness codenamed “Caesar” was not only credible but that his account was most compelling.
“Caesar’s” account of the need of the regime in Syria to have photographic images of the persons who were killed is wholly consistent with the need of the regime to ensure that orders for the killing of persons in detention facilities had been carried out. In the vie of the inquiry team the need to photograph those who were killed is a strong pointer to the fact that the killings were systematic, ordered, and directed from above.
As far as I know, "the need of the regime to ensure that orders for the killing of persons in detention facilities had been carried out" has not been established anywhere. Yet they refer to this as a separate support for Caesar's story implying this need (for "consistent with" to mean a damn thing, the compared things must be separate). That the need he alleges is fulfilled by the methods he alleges is not confirmation, just internal consistency. Lies can be internally consistent, and all good ones in fact are. The very fact that they accept this need as existing somehow, as well as being alleged and so the allegation supported, makes this need "a strong pointer" to the regime's systematic authorship. That in turn would require verification, and maybe that's why they're so sure of that "need of the regime" - it's exactly the shape of the track of circular reasoning they've opted to lock themselves into.--Caustic Logic (talk) 06:21, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
The term Consistent With is one of those weasel phrases beloved by lawyers. It's used to imply a stronger relationship than actually exists but can be plausibly denied at any stage. What they are actually saying is that the two items, ideas, facts, whatever do not conflict with each other but there is no known causal relationship between them. e.g. "bloodstains are consistent with someone being stabbed" doesn't mean someone was stabbed but that stabbing is a potential cause of bloodstains - as is shooting or simply having a blood nose. The jury on the other hand will hear the words bloodstain, stabbing, and consistent with, and assume the bloodstains have come from the stabbing. The lawyer for the other side won't point this out because that could mean giving away tradecraft secrets they plan to use themselves later. Instead they will come up with some other explanation that is 'also consistent' --Charles Wood (talk) 08:01, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
And it's even worse if there's no proof there ever was a bloodstain or even a red stain. The parallel here would be "the witness' account of the defendant's threat to stab the deceased is supported by the bloodstain the witness says she observed on the defendant's sleeve, as he cackled maniacally and dropped the victim's wrapped body off the bridge into the rushing river below." --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:38, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Maybe that's not the exact right parallel, but the idea comes through. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:55, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Interesting Clues From the Report

These photographs also included those who appeared to have been starved to death, some with signs of torture prior to death. Indeed, there were marks of beatings and burns even upon those emaciated bodies. In some cases the bodies had no eyes. [1]
Gouging out eyes is not quite as reliable an indicator of Islamist mutilation as a sliced throat, but it is up there. Another, in Syria, especially in Homs 2012 and operhaps Damascus 2013, is patches of flesh seemingly scooped away, mostly in these areas: armpit, chest, belly, thighs, groin. If these injuries appear, that's the mark of the infamous "Shabiha," not to be confused with any actual loyalist forces existent in the 3-D world. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:21, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Evidence of a possible design to conflate these officially-processed bodies with other bodies, probably of terrorist victims, that have been buried in rural areas:

Once the bodies were photographed they were taken for burial in a rural area.
Of course that could just be what they actually did, but the possibility he made this part up is worth mentioning. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:21, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
  • "...bandages, most of which appeared make-shift, were present in 9%" of one image set studied. Are makeshift bandages more a state prison thing, or rebel field clinic thing, or a battlefield thing? Not the first, yes to either of the others. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:11, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Some five thousand five hundred (5,500) images were examined in total by the forensics team.... Within these five thousand five hundred (5,500) images, images of a total of eight hundred and thirty five (835) deceased persons were evaluated in detail. Of these 20% showed evidence of inflicted trauma and 30% were equivocal. 42% showed emaciation. (p. 17)

42% of 835 = about 350 starved to some degree. That's significant, depending how they define the start point. Presumably, they did this reasonably and a lot of guys were starved. p. 28 shows findings for a smaller-yet "dip sample" of 150 individuals. The headlined and sometimes horrifying "tramline" injuries to the torso were seen on 7 of these (close to all 7 shown to us). 93 of them, 62%, were emaciated. The next most striking thing: as the photos show bearing some overlap with those starved, and maybe a huge overlap, is shin problems. 55% of the sample, some 82 individuals had ulceration there, smaller numbers (perhaps overlapping?) had scars, bandages, non-specific or ligature injuries to the shin. My conclusion: whoever held the bulk of these people captive chained them up with shackles as they failed to feed or care for them and likely infections finished them off slightly before the starvation would have. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:38, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

One relevant point about this is it refutes the initial emphasis (reflected in this page's title) on "widespread torture" in the photos. Among all those released, the ones showing specific and horrific torture like Islamo-nihilists do, are a different type - in civilian clothes, they were snagged from somewhere, not processed as prisoners with shaved head or anything, tortured, and then somehow documented by whoever... one of the points suggesting the truth of these victims is more mixed than "Caesar" makes it sound. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:43, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

Media Criticism

Leading language: in the report (a type of media, and the central one here) and the mass media promotion.

  • The report blames the "current Syrian regime," suggesting of course there will be a different government (that won't be called regime) pretty soon here. How does that kind of choice bode for the credibility of these tyrant-paid war crimes prosecutors? Not well, I'd say. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:27, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
  • The prisoners were marked systematically with "a complex numbering system," as CNN put it, suggests cold, smart regimes, with resources and time, claculating their genocide. Surely rebels in Syria could hold, torture, starve, and kill captives, blame others, and even procure the needed markers. But employ a complex numbering system? No way. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:27, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
    • More complexity/coldness: ""Killing its opponents is the regime's routine," explains Rachid. "Registring torture is nothing more than the continued pursuit of the routine." ... "The numbers follow each other," he says. "It's assembly-line killing." [3] Oh my, wait ... didn't Hitler employ brutal routines, AND use numbers that came one after another in a predictable sequence? Starved dead people ... now this ... Ohmygod! Never again! Responsibility 2 Panic! --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:27, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
  • In fact, It's possible the claims are fake and the photos are of something other than what "Caesar" says. It's possible the claims are based on a core of truth but exaggerated. It's possible, as the Daily Fail reported, that "Syrian regime 'torture' photographs could be the tip of the iceberg," as "human rights experts" warn. And It's possible that iceberg itself is just the tip of ... an iceberg city, man. Only one of those possibilities gets a headline. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:32, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Jonathan Freedland, Guardian "The report's authors, who interviewed the source for three days, have no obvious axe to grind and are eminently credible: they served as prosecutors at the criminal tribunals on Sierra Leone the former Yugoslavia." They helped chop the heads off of states the West disapproved of, twice at least. Strictly humanitarian and truth-based work that surely involves no axe, and suggests no gripe against Syria's head of state coloring their thinking here. Apparently? Or does "no axe to grind" mean their axe is plenty sharp already? And so Freedland continues: "Those facts will surely offset any misgivings over the report's origins" in Qatar. Strangely enough for me, the authors strengthen those misgivings, a lot. Prosecutors are driven by getting convictions. If they can use truth, they likely will. If not, they still do their jobs. Anyone who's studied a single unjust trial can see this, so where does a Guardian columnist get off saying shit like "should offset any misgivings"? --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:36, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
Loooool. I took these points - sharpened - to the comments section. So long as they appear, go to the end. #1, #2, and #3. Within an hour or so, as I pondered a #4 directing readers here, someone at Comment is Free decided comments are closed. So, no "right on" comments can be expected. There were going to be some. :) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:49, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Voltairenet makes a fun observation: "The Carter-Ruck firm stamped "Confidential" twice on every page of its public report." Uuuuh, credible. Also some interesting (alleged) details about the three "experts":
Sir Desmond Lorenz de Silva is the author of a report commissioned by the Prime Minister on the death of an Irish lawyer, which the victim’s family regarded as a "sham." He recognized the responsibility of the authorities, too flagrant to be denied, but sidestepped the evidence incriminating the leaders at the top. Sir Geoffrey Nice gained renown as Slobodan Milošević’s prosecutor for two years, without ever pinpointing the slightest shred of evidence of crimes against humanity. The trial abruptly ended with the death of the detainee. As for David Mr. Crane, he is a former CIA and DIA (Defence Intelligence Agency) official who, since the beginning of the war against Syria, has been in charge of a program to bring Bashar el-Assad before a special international court.
--CE (talk) 13:58, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
Just for the record, it was stamped confidential, and then released, as far as can be told. "Declassified" is the proper term. Of course, that was probably the plan all along, and the word there just to look all "professional" and "careful." But that can't be proven. Nice effect - it had to be "de-classified" so the world can know! Such a step, to open up such a careful and hushed investigation, and trust us - little ol' US - with with this horrible truth that couldn't wait any longer! Excellent background on the authors, thx. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:26, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
"Declassified", yeah. Just like the CIA or some other big guys would do. Impressive! For a law firm, even a London-based one. ;o) --CE (talk) 14:30, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
Or de-confidentiated, or whatever... --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:30, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Ghastly as the pictures are of the Syrian regime’s tortured dead, they aren’t the worst of it. In the lawyerly report released this week on the eve of peace talks opening in Geneva, the most damning information links an unknown number of unnamed Syrian physicians and judges to the coverup of large-scale killings the authors describe as “systematic, ordered and directed from above.”
We will never get any names or details on the masses of dead bodies he has a blanket story for, but who notably died only after a nasty armed insurgency joined the government as possible producers of dead bodies. But I imagine people are right now taking down the names of Syrian doctors and lawyers Caesar's willing to rattle off. The author would apparently recommend that. It's not a badly-written piece (I cringed at the word "government" next to Qatar's, but to her credit, it's also next to Syria's, in place of "regime.")
But what the hell is this? She thinks the report is "titled with magnificent understatement “A Report into the credibility of certain evidence with regard to Torture and Execution of Persons Incarcerated by the current Syrian regime.”" How did they manage to understate ... hold on, is that grammatically correct? "A report into...?" Anyway, there was no anything into this credibility except investment. It's an exercise in credulity, not skepticism or balanced inquiry. It launders the defector's allegations and little more. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:30, 30 January 2014 (UTC)


As an obtained 27,000 of the Caesar photos prepare to be displayed in the US holocaust museum, Michael Isikoff writes for Yahoo News they still seem, to the State Dept. and to him it seems, like "smoking gun" evidence of Syrian government crimes, rather than crimes unleashed on the people of Syria by the US and allies. Verification is still not complete, some metadata (but not all of it) was lost, etc. But still, it seems no one is worried this will turn out to be an embarrassment in the long run. It's another show of confidence, with new performances in the UNSC and everywhere. Below, some points from Isikoff's article I wanted to fillet. Other thoughts welcome. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:56, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

  • The Syrian government has officially denounced the photos as fakes and suggested many of the corpses seen are actually of militants who died in battle.
I'd like to see his source for these conflicting claims that makes Syria sound plain stupid. They claim fake photos show real militants they rightly killed in battle? Not faked too well if so - many look like starved captives. But really, what I've seen, is the Foreign Ministry call some of these "photos of unidentified persons proving that a number of them are foreign terrorists from several nationalities who had been killed when attacking the military checkpoints and civil institutions," and another "part of them are civilians and military personnel who were tortured and killed by the armed terrorist groups because of their support to the state." I haven't seen them claim anywhere that the photos are fake, but hey have used words like fake and politicized to describe Caesar's allegations that the government killed the people in the innocent set of real photos. (they do claim credit for those in the other set) --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:56, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
  • "While FBI agents are still reviewing the photos, Rapp said that bureau officials have already "informally" told him "they think it is impossible they could be forgeries. There is no evidence of doctoring." (A bureau spokesman confirmed only the review of the photos, adding: "It will take some time to complete the authentication process.")"
As far as I can see, that's the straw man half of the above trick, I've never seen anyone claim these photos were forged or doctored. Everyone agrees they show real dead people, in Syria, during the conflict.--Caustic Logic (talk) 13:04, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
  • "What's also noteworthy about the photos, according to Crane, was the methodical nature of the enterprise: Each photo includes tags with numbers and letters that identify each of the victims ..."
Because if this was just a collection of unidentified dead bodies killed by whoever and found, being honestly processed at different morgues in a war-torn area, they'd only give identifying numbers to some of the bodies, whereas here every one methodically gets numbered, which governments only do with their own "holocaust" victims. Or else, what the hell does he mean here? --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:56, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
  • "... as well as the detention center where they were imprisoned."
As far as I've seen, each victim has a set of numbers Caesar claims refers to different prisons. I doubt this has been proven to be the meaning of the numbers (we don't have any alternate guesses prepared) . Nor is it proven that the numbers were always part of the ordered procedures and thus reflecting government policy. Possibly some of them (the interesting ones?) are flourishes Caesar added, like the dramatic group photos he admits he arranged (see above) to make the place look like a "slaughterhouse" and increase the effect once leaked (because that was the true spirit there he just wanted people to get, right?). --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:56, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
  • "But there is still much more work to be done. Because many of the photos had to be compressed by Caesar to get them to fit on thumb drives, crucial metadata — which would yield the precise date and time that each image was recorded — was lost."
One purpose: to obscure facts like nearly half the obvious Christian victims in the photos were processed all at once, in the few days right after a notorious 2012 raid on a Christian village rumored to have a massacre, but with no visual proof thus far found. Hey ... that's probably just as imaginative and likely to be true as what everyone's telling Isikoff here. At least we can see that one victim of the few shown was a Christian and thus most likely a loyalist killed by rebels (see #Image Analysis. Maybe the victims aren't all on that side, but any kind of mix goes strongly against the prevailing one-source theory pointing, like every stupid allegation has, at the target government. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:56, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
  • "They are now being analyzed at Rapp's request by the FBI in part as an effort to determine whether any U.S. citizens may have been among the victims — a finding that could be the basis to bring criminal charges in the U.S. against officials of the Assad regime."
Becuase if any of our foreign citizens went there to fight the government / massacre infidels in Syria and died along the way, Assad must be sued for violating their civil rights in an act of international hostility. The FBI will surely not investigate the option that any U.S. citizens were involved in the abduction, starvation, torture, mutilation, and Islamist-style execution of thousands of mainly Syrian citizens shown in these photos. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:56, 16 October 2014 (UTC)


Pretty dramatic piece. Tim Mak, Daily Beast: Wrestling With the U.S. to Expose Assad Best source for all the ridiculous stage-managed security precautions and worries. State Dept. had an earlier press conference planned, but were too worried about security, or maybe worried Caesar would criticize their soft-on-Assad policies, wanted to shut him up. Hence the Republican-led House Foreign Affairs Committee did their thing instead. Not too much to criticize in the article, just in the presumptions under it. More of a journalist confidence sabotage than criticism, on Twitter (not specified = me CL4Syr:

  • @timkmak OMG the danger. Q: how many gov. body photo guys of 11 yrs died in 8/13 and had family disappear after? Maybe one, or none.
  • @timkmak Can't let Assad see which missing body photographer that is! So far they're confused the one personnel file doesn't say "#Caesar"
  • @drawandstrike @GBabeuf @Navsteva @ofehr_en @timkmak A good and BRAVE journalist would note the fake reason for a code-name and be skeptical
  • Syricide ‏@Syricide

@timkmak I'm curious. Why is the witness hiding when these implicated soldiers (and associates) will know who he is?

    • @Syricide Exactly! This is how to start. I guess since he didn't go by "Caesar" they're confused and he's safe.
  • Tim Mak ‏@timkmak · Mar 11

Caesar’s photos showed detainees who were killed in a horrific manner: by strangulation, burning, bruising, starvation - even disembowelment

--Caustic Logic (talk) 12:16, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

Branch 215

The vast majority of detention cases documented by Human Rights Watch can be qualified as enforced disappearances. In international law this is when state agents or other persons acting with the support of the state detain someone and then refuse to acknowledge the detention, or conceal his or her fate or whereabouts.[5] In most of the cases documented by Human Rights Watch, the detainees’ families had no information about their fate or whereabouts for weeks or, in some cases, months following the arrest, despite their inquiries with various intelligence agencies. The authorities did not allow detainees to have any contact with the outside world and left their families wondering whether their detained relatives were alive or dead. (Page 5)

Mass Grave Claims

  • Obviously this issue will likely be related and deserves an even earlier mention. Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria#Damascus Mass Grave Claims - The VDC announced on October 1 it had found "two sites it believes are being used to bury thousands of regime detainees in the Damascus area." Caesar defected with his story in August, it seems, so it could be his information somehow inspiring this finding at this time. It's likely to come up again soon as a supporting argument.

Caesar said the bodies were buried "in a rural area." Their press release specifies also Branch 215, and says "hundreds of detainees who have died in that Branch have been buried in two relatively adjacent areas "Njha, Damascus Suburbs," where the regime forces dug two parallel trenches parallel in the Martyrs Cemetery Njha, as the center used satellites images showing the potential places that are usually and "very likely" used as mass graves." Contradiction? Maybe not. The martyr's cemetery in Njah is in a farming area in the suburbs. HRW also made a graphic, included, showing new trench digging there in late August - 2011 - and September 2012, then more by February 2013. !!?? The other area is by it, just north. Both are south of Damascus, just south Sayida Zainab. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:31, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

ACLOS Investigation

I have some new stuff in the works, but this page never took off as fully as I'd hoped. We have some good starts all over the place. But in favor of not sweating it, even as we are this page clearly matters in this matter. Consider this is probably the leading edge at the moment of Syria war propaganda, being read into, mostly parroting credulous reports. It's not getting its just thrashing very widely, but partly here. What part? Main part. See the Google search (image optional I suppose, but it just seemed worth it). Of course, we've achieved this kind of thing over and over, just didn't know we'd done it already with this one. It occurred to me we could have a page to show stuff like this, ACLOS matters and gets seen, for anyone who didn't know. Is that too boasty, or just fair, or what? --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:01, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

Caesar Search ACLOS.png

Holocaust-Nazi-Torture-Syria Allegations

The holocaust and thus Nazi parallels with this story made this seem the best place to put this supposedly relevant claim emerging now for no obvious reason:

SS captain Alois Brunner was second-in-command to Adolf Eichmann, who called Brunner his "best man." The news of his death in 2010 at the age of 98 came from a former German secret service agent deemed reliable by the (Simon Wiesenthal) center.
...Although this hasn't been confirmed, it's believed that Brunner taught late President Hafez Assad torture tactics.

Adolf Eighmann -> Hafez -> Bashar = OMG! These photos show Nazi torture! Never again! --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:36, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

BBC report in January 2015 gets more specific: As I just tweeted #Syria "#Caesar" photos #BBC almost says Hitler directly taught Assad how to count victims w/index cards, ossum win!

All the bodies are tagged or accompanied with an index card, showing systematic documentation reminiscent of Nazi methods. ...(hold thought) Hitler's "technician of death" and Nazi war criminal Alois Brunner is believed to have found refuge in Syria after WW2. He reportedly later served as an adviser to President Hafez al-Assad, Bashar's father, and is thought to have instructed the government on torture tactics. Recent information surfaced suggesting he had died a few years ago and was buried in Syria.

Then he gets a photo in the article. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:17, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Sources page?

This topic has an article on the front page, but lacks the typical sources page listing the primary sources. Anyway, I came across with this:

I has 52 photos in full resolution. I guess most of these have been released elsewhere, but the numbering at least is different. They have been censored in different ways, the version of Caesar photo 22 shows the text on the walls.

We usually have a section, not a page. The sources section here could be copied over, but is sure to be incomplete. As for the Zaman gallery, somehow I hadn't seen that yet. At least they look new. Some correlation with face shots is sure, and some new clues. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:26, 18 October 2016 (UTC)

...continued: I found another folder:

Zaman al-Wasl has obtained a new package of mass torture photos for Syrian children, showed systematic killing and maimings by Bashar al-Assad's security services.
The atrocious photos of mass torture had been taken between 2011 and mid 2013 in the well-known 601 military hospital in Mezzah neighborhood of Damascus.
To view the photos Click HERE

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 22:31, 18 October 2016 (UTC)

The kids gallery I've seen and linked to wherever. Fairly well mined for clues. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:26, 18 October 2016 (UTC)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 A Report into the credibility of certain evidence with regard to Torture and Execution of Persons Incarcerated by the current Syrian regime. Report, 31 pages. Undated? (completed no earlier than January 18, released January 21) Prepared for Carter-Ruck and Co. Solicitors of London. 6 St Andrew Street, London, EC4A 3AE. Guardian online readable posting CNN PDF link Guardian PDF link
  2. 2.0 2.1 Syria: Photo Scheme Reminds of Iraq Propaganda Aydinlik Daily, January 24, 2014. See also: Erdogan client of the law firm that produced “Syria Torture Photos” Aydinlik Daily via Axis of Logic, January 27, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Call Him Caesar - Inside The Syrian Torture Photos Benjamin Barthe and Stéphanie Maupas, Worldcrunch, 24 January, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Inside Bashar Assad's torture chambers Photos to be displayed at U.S. Holocaust Museum are 'smoking gun' evidence of war crimes, State Department official tells Yahoo News. By Michael Isikoff, Yahoo News, October 13, 2014
  5. NY Times, Oct 31, 2014 Includes Caesar message to the US President, communicated by CDS, which in the past 'sponsored Caesar trip to Washington.'
  6. 6.0 6.1 EXCLUSIVE: Gruesome Syria photos may prove torture by Assad regime By Mick Krever and Schams Elwazer, CNN. January 20, 2014 - updated 2:59 PM EST, Wed January 22, 2014
  7. US and UN express horror at Syria torture report BBC News, January 21, 2014