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)