Thursday, May 26, 2005

Fisking Amnesty International

 
Amnesty International ought to have a stone tied to its neck and be hurled into the sea. This organization is not only harmful, in the longer term it is lethal to the cause of human liberty and safety. Here's a sample from their latest report, with editorial comment from Gates of Vienna. Judge for yourself:
    Our report presents a damning picture of failed leadership and broken promises. But of all the promises made by governments, none was as hollow as the promise to make the world a safer place from terrorist attacks.
No one "promised" to make the world safer in the next fifteen minutes. It will take years to undo our inattention and mistaken policies which have contributed to the current chaos and disorder.
    Attacks by armed groups pose a major threat to human rights in today's world. Over the past year we have seen unimaginable brutality and barbarity by armed groups in Iraq, Beslan and Madrid.
Yet, the US government and its allies who lead the "War on Terror" continue to persist with politically convenient but ineffective strategies, which undermine human rights.
This bloviating would be amusing were it not so wrong-headedly harmful. The War on Terror is anything by "politically convenient." The convenience lay in looking the other way, which we did for decades -- if there was ever an ineffective strategy it was the "don't ask, don't tell" attitude that passed for foreign policy in the US. It will take decades to undo the policies that date all the way back to Yalta.
    There can be no sustainable security strategy without justice and respect for human rights.
"Security strategy" begins with making things secure. Ask the Iraqis if they respect the human rights of the thugs who murder them daily on the streets, thugs who admit they did it not for religion but for money. Respect is built on mutuality. The disingenuous call for one-sided respect for "human rights" is naïve at best.
    The continued violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Despite the building of the Wall – in defiance of international law, the most stringent restrictions on freedom of movement of Palestinians, and the biggest demolition of houses in recent years, the security situation remains precarious.
"International law" is a bureaucratic, utopian and socialist construct that takes second place to national security. If the international bodies of law demand that you participate in your own destruction, then these bodies ought to be dismantled for the good of the rest of all of us. The wall of PC opinion being erected against Israel is far more lethal than anything it has done. In fact, such pontificating drives the Israeli defenses.
    In 2004, far from any sign of principled leadership, we saw a new and dangerous agenda in the making, rewriting the rules of human rights, discrediting the institutions of international cooperation and usurping the language of justice and freedom to promote policies that create fear and insecurity.
International "cooperation" involves going along to get along, including massive corruption and death-dealing to those who interfere with the socialist-driven agenda of envy and greed. It is the "international cooperation" that left Saddam Hussein in power and allowed fat cats in the EU to draw down billions in payoffs. For heaven's sake, grow up.
    The US is leading this agenda, with the UK, European states, Australia and other states following.
Under this agenda, accountability is being set aside in favour of impunity; a prime example being the refusal of the US Administration or US Congress to conduct a full and independent investigation of the use of torture and ill treatment by US officials, despite the public outrage over Abu Ghraib and despite the evidence, collected by AI and other, of similar practices in Bagram, Guantanamo and other detention centres under US control.
The "public outrage" is a media-driven myth. AI obviously believes the magazines it reads. A little field work in places other than Manhattan and San Francisco might yield a different conclusion about public opinion. "Outrage" is building over the unabated stream of illegal aliens who are destroying the social infrastructure of the states they invade.
    The US refuses to apply the Geneva Convention for detainees in Afghanistan.
As well it should. The Geneva Convention is designed for conventional combatants in a conventional war. Here, once more, the AI reveals its sloppy thinking in making a mistake of category. Someone ought to take up a fund to send these people to a Philosophy 101 course.
    But nothing shows the disregard of international law as clearly as the attempts by the US, UK and some European countries to set aside the absolute prohibition of torture and ill treatment by re-definition and "rendering" – or the transfer prisoners to regimes that are known to use torture. In effect sub-contracting torture, yet keeping their own hands and conscience clean.
And nothing shows the dangerous subversion of the rule of law and human decency than the AI's demand that rapists, murderers of children, beheaders of bystanding civilians, exploders of school children be treated as POWs. They are not. Another categorical elision.
    Under this dangerous agenda, justice is not only denied, it is also distorted.
It was distorted beyond recognition before we even got there. The justice being applied is justice, not mercy. They ought to be shown the same mercy they applied while they were at liberty to act.
    In the US, almost a year after the Supreme Court decided that detainees in Guantanamo should have access to judicial review, not one single case from among the 500 or so detained has reached the courts because of stonewalling by the Administration.
One way to help people to stop murdering your citizens is to incarcerate those you believe have some responsibility for the actions which led to the death of your countrymen. With 3,000 slaughtered on 9/11 the US is being generous.
    Guantanamo has become the gulag our times, entrenching the notion that people can be detained without any recourse to the law.
Anyone who has survived the gulags laughs at this poseur performance. How many gulag survivors were consulted for this report?
    By peddling the politics of fear and division, this new agenda has also encouraged intolerance, racism, and xenophobia.
This is not a new agenda. It is a return to a robust Jacksonian approach to American defense. Part of the problem is the limp "tolerance" and calls for diversity and rule by international law. A recipe for civil disaster proposed by those ignorant of history and anxious to repeat each of its mistakes.
    Furthermore, the US, as the unrivalled political, military and economic Super Power, sets the tone of governmental behaviour world-wide. By thumbing its nose at the rule of law and human rights, what message does the US send to repressive regimes who have little regard for the rule of law anyway?
This is mere opinion driven by political motivation. America remains the world's best option and the world knows it. We are finally in the process of figuring out who can be trusted and who can't.

Amnesty International is neither to be trusted nor believed. Like trolls in the blogosphere, or like the MSM, which is one of the vectors for the spread of their infection, they are best ignored for the moment.

Meanwhile, whoever comes up with an effective method for curing this disease will win the hearts and minds of those left who can still love and think.

________________________

UPDATE: Jamie, a commenter at Belmont Club has supplied the correct word for Ms. Khan's remarks: she is TRIVIAL.

Exactly.

18 comments:

Annoy Mouse said...

Bravo. AI has outlets in the US, UK, and Australia. Little wonder they have gotten together to bash their host countries. I wonder what input they got from their North Korea, Iran, China, and Chechnyan chapters.

Dymphna said...

Great thought. We need to call those chapters and ask.

Come in, North Korea, come in...

Graf von Salm said...

Amnesty International has for some time now been under the control of the international left. Some of that group may be laboring under the delusion that they can use Islam as they have used mainstream Christianity (see the World Council of Churches, for example, or the National Council of Churches in the United States). They are wrong, as we are seeing already in Europe.

Other leftists simply cannot give up their multicultural religion, and are already mental dhimmis. See this article for a brief discussion of the mechanism:

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/002990.html

Dymphna said...

graf von salm--

My gratitude for a fine website. I've looked at the piece you recommended and am going to print out some of the longer stuff.

I looove the internet. How else would we get this information?

Wish he had email or a comments section...no way to contact him to ask questions.

Anyhow, he's brilliant. He? I presume?

In exchange, I offer Pundita....don't have her site handy (I need to bookmark it). Another good one.

truepeers said...

Trivial? I would have summed her up as incredibly self-righteous. I suppose we would like to reduce the self-righteous to trivial status, and often can, but it is precisely to avoid this status that the trivial become self-righteous; and when they can get the attention of the world's media, then one has to say they have won until we can get the audience to see that left-liberal righteousness is all about the unholy desire for an epistemological guarantee: me right, Great Satan wrong, a guarantee that will be pursued ferociously without any of the doubts, as to one's rightness, that betray ordinary mortals.

Usually those who pursue epistemological guarantees of their righteousness end up in the nut house, unless, that is, they are part of the left-liberal elite. Even righteous conservative reactionaries tend to be religious enough to doubt that they are always on the godly path.

Me right, Satan wrong... So we might come to think that what motivates this posture is a kind of mysticism equivalent to some kind of primitive worship of the biggest, rightest god. Highlighting criticism of the demonic US, as the road to improving human rights, when the big abusers like North Korea are given less than secondary attention, is tantamount to belief in magic. Cast some spells, hocus pocus, and let it be... It is as if those killed in the real Gulag (NK) will be somehow resurrected if we call Guantanamo the Gulag of our times.

Ms Khan and Amnesty International are thus revealed to be psychologically, culturally, theologically - what is the right word? - akin to the ritualistic primitives who carry out the worst brutalities of this world. Or, at least, liberal self-righteousness is about a love/hate relationship with the world's primitives with whom it has some passing resemblance. Trivial? I'm not so sure.

Morgan said...

Red meat for the base, that's what this is. Imagine what people who support AI would think if it didn't condemn the US as the most egregious human rights violator on the face of the planet. They're already convinced!

Anyone with an ounce of sense has realized that there are better ways to determine who the problem actors on the world stage are than AI's annual report on the matter, and all AI is left with are people who liked their willingness to exaggerate the deficiencies of truly liberal nations like the US.

So what to do? Well, the courageous path would be to attempt to relay the real story and the whole truth (and hope to find a new audience for it, because the current one won't have any of that). But the easy path is to pander.

Dymphna said...

truepeers--
when you say Even righteous conservative reactionaries tend to be religious enough to doubt that they are always on the godly path ...

that's a hard one for me. The other end of that liberal/crazy spectrum is the conservative/crazy ones...like those who bomb abortion clinics and those who approve of it...

There is something in human nature that abhors ambiguity. We want sure answers and a painful part of maturing is settling for the fact that truth has many faces and we don't get to see all of them.

I agree with you the woman is elf-righteous. The "crimes" she accuses us of are trivialized by the context in which she submerges them. It doesn't permit us to take her seriously. Perhaps my equating lack of seriousness with triviality isn't precise...

Dymphna said...

Morgan--

the courageous path would be to attempt to relay the real story and the whole truth (and hope to find a new audience for it...)

The audience is already there. What doesn't exist is a forum like the AI, one which gathers the information and disseminates it. They filled a vacuum. The fact that they fill it with distortions, exaggerations, half-truths, and silences is the problem.

I've never checked to see where they get their funding, but I'm sure there is conservative $$ available for such a project. The growth of conservative foundations is a good indication that something similar could be done in this area.

But I don't know who that would be.

truepeers said...

D, yes I think you are right about the "conservative" crazies who bomb clinics. However of course, the conservative crazies are not nearly as mainstream as the left-liberal crazies. If we ask, what is the way to remain both self-righteous and widely heard, then we would have to say, go to a university and become a member of the lefty "intellectual"/activist elite. In this sense, the problem is really one of liberals, for the conservative crazies are a fringe that needs be occasionally thrown in jail, but not contested as part of the intellectual establishment.

You are also right about the human fear of ambiguity or paradox. I guess my point is that post-Enlightenment liberalism has so often been about casting out paradox, e.g. religion. It is difficult to imagine the conservative crazy competing with the liberal crazy in search of a pure logic to cast out ambiguity. The conservative crazy may be just as righteous, but much less logically adept (there is no Chomsky of the right is there?), and thus inherently, if not always explicitly, more in touch with the paradoxes that are at the heart of being human.

Baron Bodissey said...

truepeers -- you are reinforcing what I was saying in the comments on "The Little Engine of Cant":

Engineer-Poet -- I'm not a Republican, I'm a conservative, so I hold no brief for the Republican party in general. They are a bunch of big-spending spineless so-and-sos, just marginally better than the Dems at this point in history.

But the examples you cite -- while true -- are not the professed principles of the party; they are capitulations to sleazy expediency on the part of our elected representatives.

I avert my fastidious gaze from their disgusting behavior, as I would from the making of sausage.

Moore and Dean, on the other hand, represent the principled wing of the "Democratic" party. That's the difference, and it's significant
.

jinnderella said...

Dymphna, i always loved The Last Battle, from the Chronicles of Narnia. Aslan describes the afterlife as being exactly what you believe it will be, for you.
How i wish Amnesty Int. could experience the tender mercies of say, Kim Jong Il's government. If they are so confident of America's atrocious behavior, why not relocate to NK?

Greg said...

Dymphna, you and the Baron continue to impress and inspire me. Great job. One disagreement. You said:

Amnesty International is neither to be trusted nor believed. Like trolls in the blogosphere, or like the MSM, which is one of the vectors for the spread of their infection, they are best ignored for the moment.

I don't think they can be safely ignored. Like it or not, most people get their information, and form opinions, from the MSM. Drivel such as this is eagerly spread by the MSM. We ignore it at our peril.

truepeers said...

That's right Baron; but remind me, what are Moore's principles?

Rune said...

If Guantanamo is to be compared with Gulag, I recon it’s fair to compare Irene Kahn with Joseph Gobbels. Their use of outrageous comparisons and inflammatory demagoguery seems remarkable alike.

For the new Amnesty people are equal – but some more equal than others. Specifically those people perceived as wronged by the USA and Israel are worth ten thousand of those wronged by the likes of Sudan, Burma and Iran.

Still I say contact them. Tell them how you feel. Amnesty International was once a more balanced organisation. Contact them and tell them what the consequences of their new strategy will mean for their chance of financial and other kinds of aid from your household. Be civil but unmistakable. One of Amnesty’s own strategies is having thousand of average people write letters of protest. Lets see how they like their own medicine. If enough react perhaps we can reach that core of sanity hopefully still alive inside Amnesty International.

Amnesty International USA
International

Rune said...

Here’s a picture of Irene Kahn if anyone should be curious. With the first name Irene, I had thought she would be a western women married Muslim.

Irene Kahn

Baron Bodissey said...

truepeers -- The strange thing is that Michael Moore is revered by the left for his principles, for "speaking truth to power", etc., but you can't relly detect any principles except a visceral and vitriolic hatred for Republicans. I don't know if he's as much of a scam artist as Al Sharpton, but he certainly has made plenty of money from his efforts.

truepeers said...

Moore criticizes Republicans for pretending to speak for the common patriotic man while really speaking for their own nefarious interests. But since he plays the same game but only much better - he criticizes the evil, dissembling patriarchs (like Republicans criticize the world's tyrranies) all the while desiring authority for himself and dissembling to a whole other degree (I'm not like them; I'm just a regular Joe) - can we say he has no principles?

In other words, can any of us have real principles if we don't first admit that we are sinners and point out how we are trying to minimize this without pretending to be divine? Isn't such an honest approach - I'm a rich, western pro-AI self-deceiving sinner too, but I'm trying to do better - what organizations like AI need? Once they have become big and dependent on mass fundraising, they are always at risk of self-righteous dissembling for self interest and need reality checks to mitigate against their own will to power.

So, if Irene Khan had gone on stage and said I know the real Gulag is is North Korea, but since we raise most of our money from anti-American westerners, I'd also like to point out that the USA can be a sinner too. Furthermore, we are going to expand AI's mandate not simply to preach against the worst but to explore the anthropology of human violence that corrupts even the best, then she'd be principled but whether she'd be still employed or AI would be any richer I don't know.

truepeers said...

i should add that I don't really believe that the will to power is all evil, or that I am even comfortable with that Nietzschean concept (quoting it is my own share in his sin). Whether among Republicans or Mooreites the desire for power/responsibility can entail a critique of present realities and thus an expansion of new freedoms in the system through the increased exchange of representations that this desire entails (see, e.g., the blogosphere). And so our criticism should really be focussed on success in this respect - how much does AI expand the freedom with which we can trade representations of real human rights abuses, in say, North Korea (not very much, in this instance, I believe)? One need not, in the short term, talk up a storm about sinfulness in order to do some good in expanding freedoms, but in the long term I think such self-examination is necessary if one is to retain principles.