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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 thananything else, it is related to my work."