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Thursday, September 10, 2009

HRW sends out the sockpuppets (UPDATE)

Earlier this evening I received a comment from "Dash F.", about the Garlasco story, saying:
This is total nonsense. It's malicious and defamatory and borderline libelous, to be honest. The mere fact that someone collects a certain kind of military artifact does not make them loyal to what those artifacts represent. Saying Garlasco is a Nazi b/c he owns Nazi medals is like saying someone interested in cave paintings is a neanderthal. It simply makes no sense! Instead of dragging this man's name through the mud, perhaps it would be better to consider his record, his position at a leading Human Rights NGO (which, despite claims to the contrary, is not anti-Israel since they criticize Israeli and Palestinian tactics alike when either cross the line of legality), and the fact that he COLLECTS stuff. That's as far as it goes. People study and write about and read about and are interested in every evil figure and vile empire that ever existed, Nero, Ghengis Khan, Sadam Hussein, Stalin, Hitler. This interest does not equal acceptance or agreement or support in any way and to argue otherwise is totally illogical!
Five minutes later, on a different thread, I received another missive from "Tom K." who pasted HRW's press-release defense of Marc Garlasco.

Both of them happen to have the same IP address.

And that IP address happens to resolve to ....HRW.org!

Is this HRW's idea of how to win friends and influence people in the new media? Because, to my mind, they just did the opposite. Sock-puppet messages are considered a gross breach of netiquette, and it indicates a certain dishonesty, not to mention puerility.

HRW? Dishonest? Juvenile? Non-professional? Perish the thought!

UPDATE: Commenter Max notices that "Dash F."'s comment was repeated, verbatim, at Solomonia under the name "Sue." I wonder how many other blogs got visits from our pals at Human Rights Watch under different handles?

Meanwhile, Helena Cobban, who is on the HRW Middle East advisory committee, seems as disgusted with Garlasco as the rest of us are.

UPDATE 2: "Sara" wrote an identical message at the Z-Word blog. When it was mentioned, a person who answered her wrote, "Yay, I was debating with CTRL-C + CTRL-V!"