Page last updated at 09:33 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 10:33 UK

Analyst suspended over Nazi hobby

Marc Garlasco has been suspended from Human Rights Watch
Marc Garlasco has been suspended from Human Rights Watch

A human rights group has suspended its senior military analyst after revelations that he collects Nazi memorabilia.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said Marc Garlasco was on suspension with pay "pending an investigation".

Mr Garlasco's hobby was revealed by Mere Rhetoric, a pro-Israeli blog which said the activities reflected "an anti-Israeli bias".

Mr Garlasco said he was interested in military history and was not pro-Nazi.

He said his interest sprang from the fact that his grandfather had been conscripted into the Nazi army.

"I've never hidden my hobby, because there's nothing shameful in it, however weird it might seem to those who aren't fascinated by military history," he wrote in an essay posted on Friday on The Huffington Post, a political website and blog.

"Precisely because it's so obvious that the Nazis were evil, I never realised that other people, including friends and colleagues, might wonder why I care about these things," he added.

Human Rights Watch said it had no evidence that Mr Garlasco's hobby affected his analysis, and said he had "never expressed any anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi statements".

"We do know he collects German and American World War II memorabilia, but we have questions as to whether we've learned everything we need to know," said Carroll Bogert, a spokeswoman for the organisation.

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