Amnesty have published a few satellite images apparently showing armoured vehicles and artillery in an area in Eastern Ukraine and claim these prove the involvement of Russian troops in the country. However, the research Amnesty has published falls far short of proof, and in a matter of such importance, undermines the organisation’s claim to provide impartial and unbiased research. Continue Reading…
Archives For Amnesty International
Amnesty International have issued a briefing called “Barred from their Homes”
about the Tawergha, an ethnic group of black Libyans who were attacked and driven out of their homes in Misrata and Tawergha by racist rebel brigades and western bombing, during the NATO-backed war on Libya in 2011. The briefing documents the current situation of the Tawergha, none of whom have been allowed to return to their homes, many of whom have lost family members, and many of whom are living in refugee camps or under detention and torture in Misrata. Unfortunately, the Amnesty authors fail to explain the background to the Tawergha’s current situation, fail to criticise NATO’s role in the ethnic cleansing and make unrealistic suggestions to the “Libyan authorities” most of which are beyond the power of these authorities to deliver, even if they were minded to do so, and which indicate Amnesty is still in denial about the events of 2011. Continue Reading…
Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, has tendered her resignation and steps down on January 11th. Amnesty are looking to appoint a new Executive Director. Continue Reading…
by Daniel Kovalik (reproduced by kind permission of the author)
When I studied law at Columbia in the early 1990s, I had the fortune of studying under Louis Henkin, probably the world’s most famous human rights theoretician. Upon his passing in 2010, Elisa Massimino at Human Rights First stated in Professor Henkin’s New York Times obituary that he “literally and figuratively wrote the book on human rights” and that “[i]t is no exaggeration to say that no American was more instrumental in the development of human rights law than Lou.” Continue Reading…
A major thread running through the story of the Libyan conflict has been the information war – propaganda spread by intelligence agencies, military, media and political groups designed to encourage hatred, conflict, war, foreign intervention, death and destruction.
One sad aspect of the propaganda war has been the role played by Amnesty International and – as we will see -the heavily compromised Human Rights Watch (HRW), organisations which used to be highly regarded (and still employ some decent, well-intentioned and brave individuals.)
The daily output of propaganda is difficult to keep up with, let alone dispel. With fabricated stories describing camel bones as mass graves containing 1270 bodies, Moussa Ibrahim reportedly being found in women’s clothing and viagra apparently being distributed as a weapon of mass destruction in order to “rape children as young as EIGHT” the propaganda is beyond parody.
Human Rights Watch – infiltrated
HRW has always been a somewhat dodgy organisation, largely funded by billionaires such as George Soros and the Rausing family whose fortune comes from Tetra Paks, exploiting cheap labor in China and (allegedly) tax dodging on an industrial scale. According to its 2010 financial statements, HRW’s annual spend on fundraising was $8,042,326 and $2,344,370 on management and general costs.
Human Rights Watch is very close to the US foreign policy establishment. Cables recently released by Wikileaks show HRW workers regularly meet with US officials abroad and as 08BANGKOK1522 makes crystal clear, HRW has been infiltrated by US government assets (our emphasis and italics):
2. (C) A long-time and trusted Embassy contact based in Thailand with HRW (STRICTLY PROTECT) revealed to us that the May 14 press release \”Burma: Donor States Must Monitor Aid\”generated a certain amount of internal dissent during its drafting.
Of particular concern to HRW staff on the ground was reference to a report that the Burmese military appropriated international relief supplies. The final version released to the media stated \”HRW confirmed an Associated Press (AP) report in which high-protein biscuits supplied by the international community had been seized by the military, and that low-quality, locally produced substitutes were instead delivered to communities in need.\”
3. (C) According to our contact, HRW received the story from a trusted source in Rangoon on May 12. This Rangoon source stated that a Burmese Ministry official (NFI) had claimed that the Burmese military confiscated a shipment of high-protein biscuits and transferred them to a military warehouse. The Ministry official adamantly believed that the biscuits were replaced with an inferior version before distribution to cyclone victims, though he provided no verification of this claim. The Rangoon source had no first-hand knowledge of the action by the Burmese military and had not been able to follow-up with the Ministry official as to the current whereabouts of the alleged biscuits. HRW Thailand shared this story with their headquarters in New York, but couched it as for internal consumption only.
The Zainab al Hosni affair
The emasculation of Amnesty International is perhaps even more disappointing and it is a major victory for Admiral Stavridis’ information warriors to have neutered this once radical organization. Fresh evidence that Amnesty has been hijacked to a pro-NATO intervention agenda has been revealed by Syrian State TV and Russia Today.
Fresh evidence of the extreme brutality being meted out to Syrian protesters and their families has been revealed today by Amnesty International.
The mutilated body of 18-year-old Zainab al-Hosni of Homs, the first woman known to have died in custody during Syria’s recent unrest, was discovered by her family in horrific circumstances on 13 September.
The family was visiting a morgue to identify the body of Zainab’s activist brother Mohammad, who was also arrested and apparently tortured and killed in detention. Zainab had been decapitated, her arms cut off, and skin removed.
“If it is confirmed that Zainab was in custody when she died, this would be one of the most disturbing cases of a death in detention we have seen so far,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“We have documented other cases of protesters whose bodies were returned to their families in a mutilated state during recent months, but this is particularly shocking.”
The killings of Zainab and Mohammad bring Amnesty International’s records of reported deaths in custody to 103 cases since mass protests in Syria began in March this year.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, CNN, Al Jazeera and most other media outlets used the case of Zainab in order to try to justify the sanctions against Syria (see Infanticide masquerading as policy) and intervention in Syrian affairs by the thoroughly discredited International Criminal Court and by the UN Security Council.
In a statement guaranteed to fan the flames in Syria, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, Joe Stork pronounced:
“Syrian security forces either killed and mutilated Zaynab al-Hosni or are turning a blind eye to gangs committing gruesome murders against anti-government activists and their families.
In either case, the government of Bashar al-Assad is perpetuating a climate of terror in Syria and fanning the flames of sectarian mistrust.”
Now, embarrassingly for all concerned, Zainab has turned up alive and well (though complaining about having had to run away from home due to being abused by her brothers) on Syria TV:
An Amnesty International spokesperson told the BBC:
We will endeavor to be a little more cautious and phrase things a bit more nuanced.
Update: Amnesty Internatioanl and Human Rights Watch have issued a joint-statement which seeks to explain their position on Zainab al-Hosni case and in which they
“regret any inaccuracy in the misidentification of the body as that of Zaynab al-Hosni.”
On the 12th July, Human Rights Investigations wrote:
“Given the atrocities committed in Misrata and Benghazi the option of allowing the rebels to conquer pro-Gaddafi population centres is inconceivable – there is now only one option – and that option is peace.”
Well, Mr Anders Fogh Rasmussen and NATO did not agree and the atrocities we feared are unfolding.
Amnesty today report on the killing of black and dark-skinned people in Libya after Amnesty workers personally see them targetted in Tripoli. The article clearly recognises this is part of a bigger pattern:
An Amnesty delegation visiting the Central Tripoli Hospital on Monday witnessed three thuwwar revolutionaries (as the opposition fighters are commonly known) dragging a black patient from the western town of Tawargha from his bed and detaining him. The men were in civilian clothing.
(Tawargha is the town south of Misrata about which HRI has MAJOR concerns as the inhabitants – whose fate is unknown – were dark-skinned.)
The thuwwar said the man would be taken to Misratah for questioning, arguing that interrogators in Tripoli “let killers free”. Two other black Libyans receiving treatment in the hospital for gunshot wounds were warned by the anti-Gaddafi forces that “their turn was coming”.
The delegation also witnessed a group of thuwwar beating a man outside the hospital. The man, in distress, was shouting “I am not a fifth columnist”, a reference to al-Gaddafi loyalists.
Amnesty International’s Diana Eltahawy on CNN (after the Alex Thomson report we covered before)
From the start of the Libyan rebellion black people in Libya have been attacked and lynched by rebel mobs. This has been known by human rights groups and the United Nations as well as by the intelligence agencies, military forces, media and political leaders in the NATO countries – but they have generally kept a lid on it because it does not suit the narrative.
It does not suit the narrative of an oppressed people standing up against tyranny and for human rights to find rebel lynch mobs targetting black people, lynching them and ethnically cleansing them. Human Rights Investigations has documented that these lynchings even happened at rebel HQ in Benghazi.
Below is graphic footage of another lynching – and as with other incidents we see large numbers of rebel supporters involved. HRI has far more graphic footage including Al Qaeda-style beheadings which we are keeping back as evidence. (Note for those submitting material: please provide information regarding provenance, time, place, perpetrators, victims and witnesses and soundtracks where possible)
Where reports of racial atrocities have reached the media, the story has been that the victims are “African mercenaries” despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Amnesty workers on the ground have reported that the widespread allegations of African mercenaries have little or no basis in fact – but this information has been suppressed and the fears of African mercenaries, extremely useful to the rebel side, have been whipped up by the media and NATO politicians such as UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox.
The rebel commander in Misrata threatened to ethnically cleanse Tawergha, the town to the south of Misrata occupied mainly by dark-skinned people – months later that object seems to have been achieved with direct air support from NATO – yet the crime has been ignored.
The entry of the rebel brigade from Misrata – which the Wall Street Journal reports calls itself the “brigade to purge black skin, slaves” into Tripoli, enabled by NATO, led to inevitable round-ups of black people, massacres and abuses of human rights including the slaughter of patients in the Abu Salim hospital.
Well, today are Amnesty reporting some of the facts in Tripoli although whether this will reach the mainstream media is another question.
Today, Amnesty also report some earlier incidents they witnessed recently:
On 29 August, Amnesty examined the body of an unidentified black man at the Tripoli Medical Centre morgue. He was brought into the morgue earlier that morning by unknown men. His feet and his torso were tied. He bore no visible injuries, but had blood smudged around his mouth. The state of his body pointed to a recent death. No autopsy report was available, and no identification documents were found on him.
On 28 August, Amnesty visited a group of Eritreans hiding in their home in a poor Tripoli neighbourhood. They told the organisation that they were staying indoors for fear of violent attacks. Their situation was particularly dire given the absence of electricity and running water.
It has now become clear that the Al Qaeda /Ku Klux Klan types who have taken over in Tripoli, and the rebels generally, are not as welcoming to human rights workers, UN observers and the whole panoply of western intervention as it appeared they might be when they were primarily concerned with spreading pro-rebel propaganda.
The dam holding back reporting of these incidents has been breaking in recent days as many journalists are in Tripoli and commendable individuals within the media corps have been prepared to report honestly about the situation. It is to be hoped that information about rebel crimes does not continue to be suppressed, reports delayed, excuses found and the black people of Libya betrayed.
The full coverage of rebel racist crimes is essential to protect the population in Tripoli and the prisoners and also because many black people in Libya live in the south of the country. It is the south (including Sabha in Fezzan) that will be attacked by NATO and the rebels in the coming weeks. Racist atrocities will follow and public pressure on the decision-makers has to be mobilised to try and prevent it happening.
UPDATE: 1 June 2011 – See later articles for updates
More on the evidence Libya possessed cluster munitions:
HRI has located the original source of the Spanish media reports quoted as the basis by Amnesty International for the assumption that Libya possessed the MAT-120.
The specific passage in this report is,
Instalaza, por su parte, no quiso hacer declaraciones al respecto, pero puede ser la principal perjudicada.
En la última legislatura, el Gobierno compró varios lotes de sus granadas de mortero MAT-120 y, además, aprobó dos contratos de exportación de este material a Finlandia y Libia.
In the last parliament, the government purchased several lots of mortar MAT-120 and also approved two contracts for export of this material to Finland and Libya.
The report is unsourced. All we know from the Javier Noriega’s report is that the source is not Instalaza:
Oficialmente, el fabricante Instalaza no hace ningún tipo de declaraciones sobre las bombas de racimo.
Officially, the manufacturer Instalaza makes no statements on cluster munitions.
It should also be noted that the Spanish Defence Ministry has denied any knowledge of the export of MAT-120 to Libya, which seems highly unusual, even if they are not responsible for the actual decision to export.:
Al respecto, el Ministerio de Defensa no tiene constancia del armamento está utilizando el régimen libio
The Spanish Government’s Report on the statistics of the export of military goods for 2007 had come out at the beginning of July 2008.
Relevant extracts from the Report:
From Annex II – Authorised Exports – licenses by country
A few of the most interesting ones:
Qatar, 6 licences, 1,177,299 euros
USA, 61 licences, 159,585,721
UAE, 2 licences, 0 value
Libya, 3 licences, 3,823,500
Finland, 5 licences, 10,796
UK, 39 licenses, 58,173,209
Israel, 22 licenses, 4,365,309
Category 4 (Covering bombs, missiles etc) Authorised exports 2007
A few of the most relevant ones:
Finland, 0 value
UAE, 0 value
Israel, 0 value
(The ‘0’s indicate licences were issued but with no Euro value, perhaps as they were part of a larger contract)
So the assumption the MAT-120 was licensed to Libya is just an assumption – actually Spain issued licences in Category 4 to:
Argentina, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Slovenia (0), Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, United Kingdom, United States
UPDATE: 1 June 2011 – See later articles for updates