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Letter to Amnesty International

Discussion in 'Politics (deprecated)' started by man_slut, Aug 22, 2003.

  1. man_slut

    man_slut TRIBE Member

    (This is being sent to AI offices worldwide.)

    Dear Amnesty International,

    I strongly urge you to step back from your newly announced campaign to
    release the 75 US agents in Cuba. Associated Press reported on July 30 that
    your researcher Paige Wilhite has stated that "They are prisoners of
    conscience and the Cuban government has to release them immediately and
    without conditions." To the contrary, they have broken Cuban laws
    prohibiting funding from foreign governments, a law found in any sovereign
    state, including democracies like the USA and Great Britain.

    To people of conscience on the left, this well-orchestrated campaign to
    isolate and punish Cuba economically is rather transparent. You have joined
    groups such as Reporters Without Borders, whose animosity to communism or
    state-owned media in 3rd world countries is driven more by bottom line
    considerations than freedom of expression it would seem. (42% of the budget
    of "Reporter Without Borders" is covered by the Commission of the European
    Union, a body which is fanatically pro-privatization.)

    While Amnesty International has a rather preening posture about being "above
    politics", it has shown a rather dismaying tendency in the past to adapt to
    the foreign policy needs of the USA and Great Britain, where it seems to
    enjoy the greatest support both socially and economically.

    For example, when the Iraqi army was accused of ripping babies from hospital
    incubators in December 1990, Amnesty International told the Washington Post
    that "We heard rumors of these deaths as early as August but only recently
    has there been substantial information on the extent of the killings." Not
    only were you spreading disinformation hatched by the infamous Hill &
    Knowlton public relations firm, you were helping to launch the war against
    Iraq whose opening salvos relied on this lurid fabrication.

    Next you got involved in the Balkans--once again on behalf of US foreign
    policy. When you sponsored a 25 city tour in the USA for Jadranka Cigelj,
    Judith Miller (!) of the NY Times wrote glowingly about your efforts to
    raise awareness about how the Serbs were using rape as a political
    weapon--even quoting the wretched David Rieff, who has emerged as a
    frontline spokesman for humanitarian imperialist interventions.

    Unfortunately neither Judith Miller nor your public relations department
    spelled out the exact character of Cigelj's activism around the rape issue,
    nor her sordid political past. In "Fool's Crusade", Diana Johnstone points
    out that "Cigelj was a vice president of Croatian president Franjo Tudjman's
    ruling nationalist party, the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) and was in
    charge of the Zagreb office of the Croatia Information Center (CIC), a
    wartime propaganda agency funded by the same cryptofascist Croatian émigré
    groups that backed Tudjman. The primary source for reports of rape in Bosnia
    was Cigelj's CIC and associated women's groups, which sent 'piles of
    testimony to Western women and to the press'".

    She adds:

    "The CIC benefited from a close connection with the 'International
    Gesellschaft fur Menschenrechte' (International Association for Human
    Rights, IGfM), a far right propaganda institute set up in 1981 as a
    continuation of the Association of Russian Solidarists, an expatriate group
    which worked for the Nazis and the Croatian fascist Ustashe regime during
    World War II. In the 1980s, this organization led a propaganda campaign
    against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, accusing them of running camps where
    opponents were tortured, raped, and murdered on a massive scale."

    Finally, an article by Paul De Rooij in the October 31, 2002 online edition
    of Counterpunch titled "Amnesty International & Israel: Say it isn't so!"
    (www.counterpunch.org/rooij1031.html) takes you to task for trivializing
    Israeli violence and apolitical fence-sitting.

    He writes:

    "Reading AI's reports doesn't reveal why there is a conflict in the area in
    the first place. The portrayal of violence is stripped of its context, and
    historical references are minimal. The fact that Palestinians have endured
    occupation, expulsion, and dispossession for many decades, the explanation
    of why the conflict persists, is nowhere highlighted in its reports. This
    posture eliminates the possibility of taking sides, and AI doesn't
    automatically side with the oppressed victims; instead, it assumes a warped
    sense of balance. It qualitatively equates the violence perpetrated by the
    IOF with Palestinian resistance. In attempting to be impartial, AI is
    oblivious to the history of ethnic cleansing that is the root cause. Israeli
    violence is qualitatively different than Palestinian violence; it is
    different than that found in other conflicts because it aims to expel the
    native population."

    Not that I would gainsay De Rooij's compelling argument, but I would quibble
    with one characterization. Instead of describing AI as "fence-sitting", I
    would regard you--at least in these instances--as having fallen off the
    fence and into the lap of the US and British foreign policy establishment.

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