Bloggers accuse Human Rights Watch of online 'sock puppetry'

← return to Water Cooler

By Anthony Bowe - Online Editorial Intern

A number of bloggers are alleging that Human Rights Watch (HRW) has been using fake names to seed the Internet with supposedly independent defenses of the organization. The “offense” called “sock puppetry” by bloggers is among the most reviled tactics in the online spin wars. 

The alleged sock puppetry has come in defense of HRW senior military analyst Marc Garlasco on several conservative blogs. Garlasco has been criticised for his hobby of collecting Second World War memorabilia, including Nazi medals.     The fake commenters apparently appeared first on the Elder of Ziyon blog, where user name Dash K., wrote: 
“…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.”  
Five minutes later, a post by user Tom K. copy and pasted the HRW’s official press release defending Garlasco in the different thread.  Using administrative access in which all blog publishers have, Elder of Ziyon tracked both IP address to an HRW computer.The Dash K. comment was repeated verbatim under user names “Sue”, “Sara” and “TheFuriousWombat” on the respective blogs Solomonia , Z-Word, and Israel Matzav.  The evidence for sock-puppetry looked pretty solid, but looks can be deceiving, so The Washington Times decided to give Human Rights Watch the chance to defend itself. However, calls and emails since Friday have either been ignored or responses have dodged answering whether or not the sock puppetry happened.  There was no response given about whether or not an overzealous employee was trying to help out a friend or if a deliberate public relations tactic was launched through the communications office.

 The only response so far was an email Monday afternoon with links that do not address the issue of faked postings:

“We addressed the accusations against Marc Garlasco by posting an official, public response on our website on Friday.” The Huffington Post also published an op-ed by Garlasco responding to the accusations:” 

The Water Cooler will keep you updated if HRW decides to comment. In the meantime, it is hard to understand why the organization would remain silent if there was a good explanation.

← return to Water Cooler

About the Author
Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket, a former Opinion Blogger/Editor of The Watercooler, was associate producer for the Media Research Center, a content producer for Robin Quivers of "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius satellite radio and a production assistant and copy writer at MTV.

Latest Stories

Latest Blog Entries

blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

    LAMBRO: Skirting the lane-closure issue

  • Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

    LYONS: Benghazi demands a select committee in Congress

  • Happening Now