Open Letter to Amnesty International
to www.marxmail.org on
Dear Amnesty International,
I strongly urge you to step back from your newly announced
campaign to release the 75
To people of conscience on the left, this well-orchestrated
campaign to isolate and punish
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
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
"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
Finally, an article by Paul De Rooij
"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 The portrayal of violence is stripped of its context, and historical references are minimal.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.