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HRW Suspends Nazi-Collecting Analyst

Pending an investigation

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Human Rights Watch has suspended Marc Garlasco, the senior military analyst who was uncovered by the pro-Israel blog Mere Rhetoric last week to be an avid collector of Nazi war memorabilia. HRW says it’ll conduct an investigation into Garlasco’s “hobby,” because, as spokeswoman Carroll Bogert told the BBC, “we have questions as to whether we’ve learned everything we need to know.”

Garlasco was outed as “Flak 88,” a frequent visitor to websites devoted to discussing combat paraphernalia of the Third Reich. In one forum, he was quoted as saying, “That is so cool! The leather SS jacket makes my blood go cold it is so COOL!”—a sign of obsessiveness about a macabre subject that led various bloggers, as well as Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, to question his motive for reporting on alleged human rights abuses committed by Israel in wartime. As NGO Monitor, a group that investigates supposed anti-Israel biases and inaccuracies in human rights reporting on the Arab-Israeli conflict, wrote at the time, “It is bizarre enough for a ‘human rights’ activist to choose the name of a gun as an internet screen name and for his car license plate. Coupled with the neo-Nazi iconography, however, the adoption of “Flak88” as Garlasco’s alter ego is evidence at the very least of highly questionable moral judgment.”

At first, HRW issued a press release vigorously defending Garlasco and his work. It claimed his extracurricular interests were purely scholarly and not at all driven by a covert or latent sympathy for fascism. Garlasco also wrote a self-defense for the Huffington Post, saying that he regretted “causing pain and offense with a handful of juvenile and tasteless postings I made on two websites that study Second World War artifacts.”

Rights Group Assailed for Analyst’s Nazi Collection [NYT]
Responding to accusations [HuffPost]
Earlier: HRW Official Collects Nazi Memorabilia
Related: Broken Watch [Tablet]

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HRW Suspends Nazi-Collecting Analyst

Pending an investigation

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