From Paul de Rooij March 23 ‘Amnesty International: Trumpeting for War… Again’, counterpunch.org
“One must marvel at the first few paragraphs of Amnesty International’s recent press release:
“The international community’s catastrophic failure to take concrete action to protect the people of Syria has allowed parties to the conflict, most notably the Syrian government, to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity with complete impunity, often with assistance of outside powers, particularly Russia. Every year we think it is just not possible for parties to the conflict to inflict more suffering on civilians, and yet, every year, they prove us wrong…
Right now, in Eastern Ghouta 400,000 men, women and children, who have been living under an unlawful government siege for six years, are being starved and indiscriminately bombed by the Syrian government with the backing of Russia. […] The international community had said ‘never again’ after the government devastated Eastern Aleppo with similar unlawful tactics. But here we are again. Armed opposition groups have retaliated by indiscriminately shelling two villages in Idleb, which they have also besieged since 2014.”
Rooij calls this an unambiguous call for, and justification for war by NATO, another R2P effort as in Libya, leaving no doubt as to is culpable and who deserving of a ‘humanitarian bombing’ campaign. He suggests considering AI’s history in expansive propaganda efforts on the eves of other wars in the past, and how AI’s reporting on Syria differs from that of other countries in the area.
A sorry record, but a few mentions:
“Before the US invasion to ouster the Iraqis from Kuwait, president George Bush Sr. appeared on TV holding an Amnesty International report claiming that Iraqi soldiers had dumped babies out of incubators. That was Amnesty International’s willing participation in spreading a hoax — a hoax fabricated by a major American PR company.
In the months prior to the US-NATO attack on Serbia, Amnesty-USA put two Croatian women on a ten city-speaking-tour to project their account of their “rape-camp” ordeal — in reality one of them was a top Croatian propaganda official, a close advisor to president Tudjman, who was also known for her acting abilities. Again, this hoax was pushed by a major American PR company.
AI’s coverage/non-coverage of Israeli mass crimes also deserves to be analysed. In this case, Amnesty plays a role in adulterating and reducing criticism after wars or the misery caused by its continuous occupation and abuse of the Palestinians (discussed below). Amnesty International-Israel served as a propaganda front busy manipulating “human rights” reports to suit Israel’s interests. AI-London has not commented on the manipulation by its Israeli siblings.
In 2012, Amnesty erected advertising posters in the US applauding NATO’s actions in Afghanistan — “Keep the progress going”, purportedly doing something for women’s rights. This was merely crass pro-NATO pro-interventionist propaganda.
Amnesty-France was instrumental in propagating anti-Libyan propaganda prior to the NATO bombing of the country in 2011.”
In the ha-ha category, he writes that when queried about their support for war, a spox said that they aren’t anti-war really, which accorded with his description ‘their lame equivocations about wars’, and the organization was even awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
But now they’ve even given up that ruse with its ‘never again’ standing for mass crimes, an appeal Rooij notes is an appeal to holocaust survivors.
In his Syria today section he offers narrative including:
“The Syrian government is presently rolling back the jihadis who had managed to establish themselves in an area next to Damascus. No government would tolerate to have a section of their capital city under jihadi control, an area from which the rest of the city is mortared, and an area vital to control the water supply of the city. What would happen if jihadis took over Arlington, VA, and used it to bomb the center of Washington DC? The response would be self-evident. For some reason AI doesn’t bestow this right of self-defence to the Syrian government, but instead refers to an “unlawful government siege [of Ghouta] for six years”. This is laughable.
It is remarkable to find that in none of the latest press releases or reports does AI discuss the nature of the armed groups fighting in Syria. Even those referred to as “moderates” by Washington are a rather unsavoury bunch. Most of them are foreign jihadis; a good portion of them are Saudis. (NB: Saudis offered political and criminal prisoners a way out of jail on condition of going to fight in Syria.) And they are armed/trained/financed by the US/UK/Saudi/Emirates/Turkey/Qatar… to the tune of at least $12 billion. The former US ambassador to Syria stated that the US contribution was at least $12bn; this figure excludes the funds provided by the Saudis and other regimes in the area. Gareth Porter reports that the quantities of weapons supplied to the jihadis were enough to equip an army. Yet, this armed gang of jihadis is barely mentioned in Amnesty’s assessment of the situation in Syria. In Ghouta, the jihadis belong to the Nusra front (or one of its rebranded versions), that is, a group with an extreme ideology; they are an Al-Qaeda offshoot. AI’s press release doesn’t mention this salient fact.”
And there is a double standard
This section is worth reading in entirety, but on Israel war crimes ‘cautious, coy, and full of ‘alleged’ sort of minimizing, and “There are no appeals to the “international community” which should not stand by, “never again…”
As to Syria, this is good, although I’m ambivalent as to his last sentence:
“In the current press release, AI unambiguously states that both Syria and Russia are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. And if this is the case, there is an obligation for other states to act, to intervene. AI is not requesting an investigation, it is urging intervention.
While in the Israeli case AI states that crimes are committed on both sides, when it comes to Syria it is only the Syrian government that is deemed culpable. It is difficult to remove entrenched well armed jihadis who use residents as human shields. Jihadis dig themselves in and around hospitals and schools, and when action is taken against them there, the likes of Amnesty utter their clucking sounds.”
A bit more on Double Standards:
“In its latest statement AI states: “It must also send a strong message that those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity will be held accountable, by referring the situation to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.” Fair enough. In 2002, Donatella Rovera, an AI researcher on the Middle East, was queried about why AI didn’t make a similar demand to hold Israel accountable at the ICC or ICJ, and she stated that AI didn’t make such demands. Another standard applies.”
Quoting more of Shamnesty’s press release,
“Like many Syrians, the humanitarian worker expressed deep distrust of the government.” Or “We hear rumours of reconciliation but that can never happen. The government hates us…” And other such unverifiable statements.”
Yes, he’d pictured what I had: the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Observatory (SOHR) which vaunted and oft-quoted organization he deconstructs as:
“A Syrian furniture salesman based in Coventry, a small city in the UK, runs the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). Sitting in his living room, he produces reports about the latest atrocities, chemical attacks, and every other sordid detail to tarnish the Syrian government’s image. He reaches his mysterious sources by phone, invariably someone hostile to the Syrian government.”
I’m pretty sure that even the NYT was forced to finally admit to that Truth at some point rather recently. Or, he wonders “Is it the White Helmets” (an award-winning Netflix psyop beyond compare, imo)? Speaking of which, the Big News is that Susan Rice just joined the Netflix Team on the Board of (Psyop) Directors? Can we give her some applause, please? C’mon; if you heart Susie, give her the clap, okay?
Ah, well, clever sods that you are, you’ll have already have anticipated what’s in this section.
The main playbook (but on to):
….the most telling of which is SI’s multimedia presentation of ‘the purported abuses in the Saydnaya Prison’. Curious, I found this epic critique: ‘‘Amnesty International Admits Syrian “Saydnaya” Report Fabricated Entirely in UK’, offguardian.org Feb.2, 2107, Tony Cartalucci from Land Destroyer , including the video
Now the author doesn’t mention specific motivations for this call to arms by AI such as Pepe Escobar’s contention that Syria is the ultimate pipelinestan war “to break the Tehran-Damascus alliance. And ultimately, how to break the Tehran-Moscow alliance. But it also includes isolating energy coordination among them, to the benefit of the Gulf petrodollar clients/vassals linked to US energy giant.” or any such other, what he does write is that:
“Harvey Weinstein, the sexual predator, made Amnesty International USA possible — he provided the funds necessary to establish the organisation.  Weinstein didn’t put up the funds because he fancied AI’s lovely researchers. People put up funds for such organisations to shape the way abuses and crimes are reported. In Weinstein’s case, his ardent devotion to Israel might explain his financial contribution to Amnesty USA. Amnesty is also a conduit to push propaganda desired by those who foster such organisations. The very nature of “human rights”, its very flexible nature, lends itself to prime manipulation.”
Should he rather have said ‘alleged’ sexual predator? I’m at least a bit agnostic about it, not knowing if he’d ever asked for his day in court. At any rate, their ‘about’ page says that they’re ’funded by members…and people like you’.
But to add a bit of satire to the mixture,
‘We’re coming out of Syria very soon, let others take care of it – Trump’, via RT, 29 Mar, 2018
“President Donald Trump has made a surprise announcement that US forces will be withdrawing from Syria, citing the defeat of Islamic State and the need to defend US borders and rebuild “crumbling” infrastructure.
“We’re coming out of Syria very soon. Let the other people take care of it now,” Trump said during a speech in Richfield, Ohio on Thursday, dedicated to his infrastructure initiative.”
Will his Generals agree? Will… (drum roll please…): John Bolton? Or is that dirty-scrub-brush-moustached loose cannon too busy gamin’ war with…Iran, Russia, North Korea…? You’ll let me know if he’s already been fired, won’t you?
from the Twittersphere:
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)
I’m new to Cafe Babylon, found my way here via your latest blog on The Intercept’s attacks on Wikileaks – I was trying to fathom why Micah Lee is hellbent on destroying Wikileaks.
This is a great report on Amnesty International. What happened to them? When and why? I used to donate to them, but not anymore. They called me up, asked me why and were quite offended when I told them. They got defensive, tried to argue they hadn’t changed at all, but they have. Human Rights Watch is no better, I understand, it’s bought and sold, too. I checked it out briefly once with an intention to donate to it. It told me Australia has a sound record on human rights. I’m Australian: no we don’t. Human Rights Watch got an email pointing out their error, but they didn’t get my money and they never will.
Does anyone know of any human rights organisations that are legit now? Any that are truly independent and not pushing the hegemon’s narrative?
morning, kathy heyne, and welcome to the café. it’s good to have you here and to know you’re in solidarity on these issues, and OMG: a kangaroo avatar to boot! ;-)
i’m not sure which diary you’re speaking of, but this is my oeuvre on wikileaks and other leaks here.
but i reckon you might be referring to the one containing this horror show:
““Although I have never met or communicated with Lee and know little of him. But research shows that starting in early 2016 he has engaged in an online vilification campaign against WikiLeaks (and me). Some examples:
“..Julian [is] a rapist, liar, & ally to fascists”; “I wonder, now that Obama has commuted @xychelsea’s sentence, will Julian Assange turn himself in for US extradition”; “Julian Assange is not a co-founder of @freedomofPress. This is another lie. I know, I’m a co-founder“; “We can’t trust them [WikiLeaks]”; “Assange’s fall to bigotry”; “WikiLeaks/Julian also champion far-right conspiracy theories”; “Assange makes up a narcissistic, self-serving, offensive conspiracy theiry (sic) to make @xychelsea’s story more about him”; “This is just Julian defending a Nazi” in response to my tweet [“US ‘liberals’ today celebrate the censorship of right-wing UK provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos over teen sex quote.”, and mentions of poulson and adrian lamo being directly in charge of outing chelsea mannning…it’s not clear to me why micah lee chose to nix him, save for the fact that…the intercept:
seems to bat for the hegemon, vets leaks w/ the military to ‘not endanger the war effort’, etc. whereas assange is anti-imperialist and anti-war (naming ‘afghanistan’ that the intercept would not). in some ways the interview w/ GG and naomi klein (‘great pinkerton train robbery’ or close) exemplifies that tarzis always called ‘the good whistleblower v. bad whistleblower wars.
as far as other human rights orgs, guess i’d say the center for constitutional rights, the only org we gave money to in the days we had some. even w/o the great michael ratner (rip) they’re continuing to kick ass and take names.
even doctors w/o borders (MSF) got squidgier over time, and began apparently dependent on the white helmets, stars of stage and screen) for their indictments of syria. rooij had mentioned this fellow tim hayward, i believe, although i hadn’t hunted him down, and he has some major doubts about them. the info-graphic here sheds some light on the timeline of Amnesty’s devolution.
and yeppers, i’d just been mentioning the vary compromised human rights watch and avaaz over yonder at c99%. hope you come back, it would be great to have you here. oh, and this page will allow you to choose a nation covered by shamnesty (they do mention the plight of the aboriginals, so there’s that at least), and wsws.org reports on a lot going on n aussie land, also home of the great and powerful…john pilger. ;-) turnbull’s another piece of work, eh?
Not apropos of nothing:
you aren’t implying that frau merkel might be a hypocrite, are you, mein herr davidly? does ‘the left’ mean it? will it matter if it does? and does ‘arms exports’ imply ‘sales’ as well?
lulz.. I’m just translating and pasting. The implication should be your inference… I trust you, wd;-)
Fair enough questions, though. The last I’ll answer with a rhetorical question: You really think the Germans are giving this shit away? The middle two, I’ll be more succinct: They’ve advocated a ban on weapons exports for as long as I can remember. No, it won’t matter.
i wouldn’t trust me if i were you, lol. but thanks again. but i will freely admit that the ypg in the kurdish area in quite a hot potato on twitter; can’t say i’ve figured any of it out, myownself. most of what i’ve seen is on twitter, always mega-polemical.
When skilfully done, as it is here, one establishes the appearance of thoroughness of differentiation. You know, it cues the sympathetic (and credulous) reader by letting them know what everyone knows regarding the complexity of what’s happening on the ground. The catastrophe, after all, has “allowed parties to the conflict” to commit war crimes. Parties. As in plural. See that? That’s how you know it’s not one-sided journalism. They mentioned parties. So fair & balanced. Yet without even finishing the opening salvo they shift the focus to just one party after that, most notably, with the elementary use of a set of adverbs to sweep the sides of the double standard they want buried under their rug of léger de langue and particularly sharpen the focus on the target of the war propaganda press release.
lol, nice catch on the nuances by group strawmen, including the adverbs, including the ‘léger de langue’. you’re a peach of a media/ngo critic in your own right, darlin’..
well at least there’s this, mein herr:
‘There is a majority opposed to extradition in all political groups except for voters of Angela Merkel’s Christian democratic coalition, the CDU/CSU.’
who in the government decides? the equivalent of the state dept. or…mutti merkel?
That’d be the attorney general of the state of Schleswig-Holstein where he was arrested. The extradition decision ‘ll be taken up after the holiday, of course, which includes Easter Monday here.
hard not to think that the AG will receive a few pieces of friendly advice as to his (her?) decision, eh? and a good easter monday to you, mein herr.
i like your pinging instead the game of checkers, as in ‘king me’.
Researching the translation of the following update, I encountered what has become the typical, seeming inability of folks in the field to translate certain peculiarities between our Germanic languages as regards the corresponding cryptics In Re. The Matter of their non-corresponding jurisIMprudence and lingos thereofs) … That is, I haven’t the slightest what the diff between this and simply being out on bail is, but there are, in spite of the similarities (bail money, don’t leave the state, report to an officer) also divergences in the language used for what was ordered here (Haftverschonung) versus what otherwise translates as simply being out on bail (auf Sicherheitsleistung).
More pertinently, however, though y’d think that this order implies an ongoing/pending rendering/decision/investigation, I have no idea when/by whom such is to take place.
it’s rather inscrutable, isn’t it? the decision was announced yesterday at telesur english, but i just went to grab the link…and it’s gone. but here are a few bits from the guardian, fwiw:
“A court in northern Germany has ruled that the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont can be released on bail while extradition proceedings continue.
The Schleswig court said that it considered a charge of misuse of public funds sufficient grounds for an extradition, but that a charge of “rebellion” was not, because the comparable German charge of treason specifies violence.
Proceedings to decide whether to extradite him on corruption charges could continue, it said. “There is a risk of flight,” the court said in its explanation of its decision to grant bail. “But since extradition on rebellion charges is impermissible, the risk of flight is substantially lessened.”
and from wikileaks: Liz Castro Retweeted Aleix Clarió 4 hrs ago: #CatalanPresident Puigdemont will hold a press conference in Germany this evening at 6pm.
Guess I shoulda checked the Guardian. One might surmise that, theoretically, at least, given the extradition order’s inclusion of a, by German law, impermissible charge, that any decision on extradition should take into consideration the apparent likelihood that, should he be extradited, he’d be subject to indictment on a, from the German law’s perspective, bogus charge. The cynic in me says that the Schleswig court’s allowing the embezzlement charge to justify extradition foreshadows their excuse when they ship him back.
lol x 3. well, the telesur one from yesterday is still gone w/ the wind, but this report from april 3 references a reuters report. sorry, but my head’s not quite in the game, but here it is and fwiw.
and yours noted that puigdemont isn’t facing political persecution in spain. oh, no…
i’ve been in gaza all day, and am in such need of a romp, thus tonight’s lullaby-boogie. ;-) from world citizen michael franti:
davidly, davidly. any comments on the deeper connections b/n Germany & Turkey? there’s some longer history there I’m sure most of dumbass merkins know nothing about. Mozart is writing Turkish marches for a reason, presume.
great minds land in the same rut…or something. co-inky-dink? last night on the marina here in Oly I stumbled upon by accident a memorial service for Anna Chapman. It was interesting…& well, I could say lots about it. one kid, I swear, had a “born again” experience during the memorial. who doesn’t like a martyr?
exactly. and that’s the problem. the fetishizing of Rojava, the YPG anarcho-socio-liberto-commie-feminist Syrian 2nd amendment advocates. it was kind of disturbing. not for supporting Rojava per se or idealizing certain things about them or admiring their courage, etc., etc. but the kind of “let’s punch a fascist” desire for the good war. and such certainty that Rojava is fighting that good war.
Now that may or may not be the case, I don’t know. but if what one learns from Rojava is to drool all over guns & shooting the enemy, count me out. esp for the context of the within the US. part of this desire, I think, is purely about revenge, desire to have an object upon which cruelty & punishment may legitimately be inflicted. I really appreciate comments & posts on this site about the feasibility but even more so the desirability of armed resistance to the USG (key words coming up!) *from within the US itself*. kids so want to be the Black Panthers or whatever & some have convinced themselves that *Syria represents a moment in time comparable to the Spanish Civil War before the outbreak of WW2.* talkin’ about drawin’ a line in the sand, as Walter Sobjak said. Rojava standing up to ISIS, Turkey, Assad is that kind of moment.
but how’s Rojava’s relations with Israel & the US? hey, if Rojava is so great at sticking it to Assad & Turkey, why wouldn’t the US fund and/or arm them? (cuz they are pinko femi-commies? fer shur, as the kids say today. fer shur.)
anyway, going off on a tangent…as Morpheus said in “The Matrix,” “Focus, Trinity.” when a few hillbillies with thick biceps & thicker beer bellies pulled up in their Ford F2billion Earthstomper trucks across the street to gawk, take pictures, film, etc., the memorial service, a few of the participants, incl. a few in masks, ran over there to “confront” these children of the mud flaps. most aggressively.
I face palmed myself & tho’t, oh for fux sake. everyone is filming everyone everywhere & we had zero idea who these people were. this is the resistance rising? menacing these local yokels for doing what people in this country do all the g.d. time, leering at other people?
ok, focus. how is that NATO thing working out when a coup is attempted in one of its members (Turkey), which shortly thereafter starts increasing its direct, bilateral trade, military, etc. relationships with Germany?
think there is any relationship b/n the fragility of the NATO alliance & increased threat mongering & waving of false flags re Russia? how to terrify Germany & France into joining the Anglos in sticking it to Russia…
on that note, happy Ishtar!
i know this is to davidly, but…
it’s good to see you, j, and thanks for the most interesting and speculative comment/s. not knowing who anna chapman even was, i found some fun stuff about her ‘marry me ed snowden’, etc. but she appears not to have been ypg, yes? i can’t even remember now if i’d included the fact that macri swears france will stay in syria because: ypg. and ‘fetishizing’ them is just the right word. i remember the tankies pimpin’ ‘anarchist’ daivid graeber for the same thing, and erstwhile café commenter wayoutwest did the same; he loved gun them thar gun totin’ feminists, dissed the zapatista women for…not being feminists. never got it, even though, of course the kurds in iraq since the first gulf war were sold out continually by the amerikan war machine…
but what about chapman was so black-panther-alluring to the kids in oly?
as to germany, they’re playin’ both sides, imo. nato don’t protect us, we’ll jam up our military ourselves, but still doin’ the nato anti-russia stuff shuffle, aren’t they? and the US jut sold a whale of a lot of ‘anti-ballistic’ missiles to…poland. keep surrounding the evil Bear!
okay: “Israel is our only friend in the Middle East”, israelidefense.com, 2016
‘Against the background of the changing reality in the Middle East and the possible establishment of an independent Kurdish state, one of the leaders of the Kurds in Syria in an exclusive telephone interview to Israel Defense: “The Turks support the wrong side,” he says, and insists on making it absolutely clear that the fight against ISIS will take a long time.’
another article had said that ‘the ypg and the kurds are the new jews in the ME’ or close. and a good ishtar/easter to you, j. (i hadn’t known the etymology of easter until i’d read b at MOA this morning.)
Other than the historic alliance of convenience that pitted a German-Austrio-Ottoman desire not to have limeys laying tracks in their yard on their way to oily riches, and the economic miracle that included a sizeable guest worker program, the idea of which included the credulous and/or naive belief that the Turks would head back home when they were done working (whatever the fuk that means), I can’t claim to know much about special relationships. As far as the weapons sales go, it’s as par for the course as the ones to S Arabia by both Yanks and Krauts that remained unimpeded and undiminished by whatever tisk-tisking might take place in between military training sessions.
I mean, I don’t really go in for the whole chessboard intrigue view of things. I wouldn’t wanna give any of the powers that be that much credit for foresight of thought. I see it more as a checkerboard. King me.
got it. indeed, let us not oversell how many multi-dimensional chess games are going on in the heads of the world’s Dons. and what does it matter? I assume Merkel is pretty bright, Obama level or Clintonian. that dude, number 11 or whatever in China, he’s prolly pretty sharp. judo chop Pooty Poot in Russia is no dummkopf. Shrub got 1450 on his SAT’s (hahahahahahaha). and got into Yale & Harvard (it doesn’t matter whether he was a legacy brat or not, I love how real achiever types just assume bush was a dumbass cuz he played one fairly well on the teevee. don’t let any facts creep in to tarnish that Ivy League brand, like not all the bush brats merited Ivy so that it wasn’t just money & family name that got W into the best coke parties in New Haven & Cambridge.)
and? and? and? an itchy trigger finger dulls the mind anyway so what does it matter how “smart” a Kissinger is? he’s there to justify pulling the trigger. someone like trump didn’t go to the ivy league finishing school where he learned not to say “faggot” in public, like Bill & Hill. so Trump won’t do his plundering on the NGO circuit after his one term cuz he didn’t master r2p rhetoric? pfffft.
Also, I think the matches, especially the multi-level ones, are in the minds of the self-styled pundit experts, and the admirers of the brand — those either easily distracted from reality or who don’t care even if they aren’t paid not to.
I should add that their pundit-expert views are what pass for the opposite of what they are — gritty unflinching, unafraid to be an adult in the room analysis of things that have to be dealt with before one can move on to the next topic.
King me, indeed.