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Wednesday, September 9, 2009
THE DARK SIDE OF THE ANTI-ISRAEL EXPERT

THE DARK SIDE OF THE ANTI-ISRAEL EXPERT
(Article by Amit Cohen, Ma'ariv, 9.9.09)

Marc Garlasco, the senior Human Rights Watch expert is one of the authors of
some of the most venomous reports against Israel and the IDF. But he has
another occupation: He a compulsive collector of Nazi insignia and
memorabilia. Yesterday Garlasco wrote in his blog: "I would reply, but I do
not want to encourage them." The organization is trying to explain: "That
is part of Garlasco's work as a military historian."

Another scandal hits the human rights organization, Human Rights Watch
(HRW), one of Israel's biggest critics regarding the Palestinian population.
Three weeks ago Ma'ariv disclosed that senior figure Joe Stork is a radical
anti-Zionist who opposed any recognition of Israel, and even showed
understanding for the Munich Massacre of athletes. Yesterday it became
clear that Mark Garlasco, the organization's senior military researcher is
an enthusiastic collector of Nazi memorabilia.

Garlasco, who is responsible for a number of harsh reports against Israel
and the IDF - amongst which was a report that presented Gaza residents'
claims about the IDF's use of phosphorous shells during Operation Cast Lead,
as well as a report on the deaths of an entire family on the Beit Lahiya
beach following an IDF bombing - is a regular attendant of Nazi memorabilia
collectors' forums and has even written an extensive book on the subject.

Mark Garlasco's loaded hobby was revealed yesterday in the blog Mere
Rhetoric. The blog succeeded in cross-checking data from Garlasco's open
biographical records and the details of a surfer using the pseudonym Flak88,
a German anti-aircraft shell. This same surfer demonstrated both great
interest and knowledge on Nazi memorabilia collecting. The blog's authors
even hinted that, in light of the overlapping details, both figures - the
real one and the virtual - are actually one and the same.

The blog's research showed that Flak88 is in the habit of collecting various
Nazi memorabilia, like medals and insignia, and to post pictures of them on
the forums of similar collectors. In 2007, Flak88 made a posting on a forum
dedicated the Wehrmacht, the Nazi army. "Friends, he wrote, "this year I was
lucky and I collected a few items. Most I already had. I hope that you
enjoy the pictures." Flak88 added links and documents to the posting, which
authenticated them. Apart from that, Flak88 wrote an extensive book, with
over 400 pages on collecting Nazi items. The book sold for $100 on Nazi
collector forums.

Emma Daly, Communications Director at Human Rights Watch, confirmed to
Ma'ariv that Flak88 and Mark Garlasco are the same person. With that she
clarified that the organization denies the suggestions regarding Garlasco's
tendencies. "Mark Garlasco is not pro-Nazi," said Daly, "These allegations
are monstrous. He does not delve into Nazi memorabilia. Garlasco is a
student of military history and he has an interest in military history."

With that, Garlasco's biography, as it appears on the HRW website, shows
that he has a BA in Government and a Masters in International Relations.
Before joining HRW he was employed by the Pentagon as an analyst on the
subject of Iraq. After joining the human rights organization, Garlasco
became its senior military expert and headed investigation teams to Gaza,
Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq and Georgia.

In recent years Garlasco has been involved in a series of investigations
against the IDF, in the Gaza Strip and in Lebanon. Garlasco, for example,
checked the allegations against the IDF on the use of cluster bombs in the
Second Lebanon War. In the past months Garlasco published two reports on
Operation Cast Lead: In one he determined that the IDF used phosphorous
shells and in the second he checked the use of UAVs. "The UAV operators can
see their targets on the ground clearly and can divert the missiles after
launch, Garlasco determined. "Based on those abilities, Israel must explain
why there incidences of civilian casualties."

Professor Gerald Steinberg, Director of NGO Monitor, which published this on
Garlasco yesterday, is sure that there is a direct connection between the
reports that he writes and his fetish. "HRW is considered a very
prestigious, very moral, organization," says Steinberg. "It leads the
attacks against Israel, on the basis of human rights violations, but a
number of senior figures there have an anti-Israel ideological background.
We see this clearly with Garlasco."

Garlasco himself replied laconically to the publications. "I would reply,
but I don't want to encourage them, wrote Garlasco under the pseudonym
Flak88, "Anyway, I doubt if they read my book. More than anything else, it
is related to my work."

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