Archives For Amnesty

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…

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…

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.

On 23 September (whilst ignoring the genocide of the Tawergha , the NATO bombing of civilians and civilian infrastructure in Libya) Amnesty issued this report about Zainab al Hosni of Homs:

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.”

We have been following the fate of the people of Tawargha since one of the Misratan rebel commanders threatened to wipe Tawargha off the map. The same commander then turned up on camera with Orla Guerin of the BBC, as Tawargha was taken by the rebels with NATO support and the inhabitants fled. There can be no doubt that NATO commanders were fully complicit in this ethnic cleansing.

Al Jazeera reported that the inhabitants had been handed over ot the Red Cross but the ICRC were unable to confirm this and there have been rumours of a mass grave. The fate of the prisoners shown loaded into a shipping container is unknown.

Now Amnesty International’s Diana Elthaway reports that the 10,000s of Tawarghans who have fled to Tripoli (and other dark-skinned-Libyans) are facing continuing persecution from the Misratan rebels who have now caught up with them in the capital.

One lady from Tawargha describes how the townsfolk fled:

“When the thuwwar entered our town in mid-Ramadan [mid-August] and shelled it, we fled just carrying the clothes on our backs. I don’t know what happened to our homes and belongings. Now I am here in this camp, my son is ill and I am too afraid to go to the hospital in town. I don’t know what will happen to us now.”

The evidence suggests that Tawarghas are fearful of going outside, cannot return home and have been abused,  detained (even whilst in hospital) and gone missing:

Some Tawarghas who have been detained in Tripoli are said to have been made to kneel facing the wall, and then been beaten with sticks and whips. Others have simply vanished after being arrested at checkpoints and taken from hospitals by armed revolutionaries (thuwwar).

On 29 August, Amnesty International delegates saw a Tawargha patient at the Tripoli Central Hospital being taken by three men for “questioning in Misratah” and were told about at least two other Tawargha men had vanished after being taken for questioning from Tripoli hospitals. A 45-year-old flight dispatcher and his uncle were arrested by armed rebels while out shopping in the al-Firnaj area of Tripoli on 28 August.

Even in the refugee camps, the Tawarghas are not safe. Towards the end of last month, a group of armed men drove into the camp and arrested about 14 men – and their relatives do not know of their fate.

Amnesty also report that “in addition to Tawarghas, other black Libyans including from the central Sabha district as well as sub-Saharan Africans continue to be at particular risk of reprisals and arbitrary arrests, on account of their skin colour and widespread reports that al-Gaddafi forces used “African mercenaries” to repress supporters of the NTC.”

Sabha is a city in south-central Libya, formerly capital of Fezzan which was historically one of the three provinces of Libya and fully became part of the Kingdom of Libya in 1951 when the French left. In 2006, the population of Fezzan was 442,090 constituting 7.8% of the Libyan population.

Sabha is mainly inhabited by Libyans of mixed and black African descent and the population is temporarily safe from being massacred by the hostile rebels from Misrata or from the Western Mountains due to its geographical remoteness as the routes to Sabha  traverse large expanses of barren and desert landscape, although there is a metalled road which the rebels will no doubt be travelling down once they have dealt with the conundrum of Bani Walid.

As well as the native inhabitants, more than 1,200 African migrants are stranded in the towm according to the International  Organization for Migration.

In a statement, the IOM said “there is no longer any political infrastructure in Sabha” able to support the migrants until  evacuation plans are organised.

“With no electricity, fuel and little food and  water, the situation for the migrants and those in the town is becoming  increasingly difficult,”

Moreover, Sabha is not safe from NATO bombing, as this tweet from UK Military Spokesman Maj Gen Nick Pope indicates:

This long-range mission would have required logistical support from the US and the consent of “son-of-Africa,” Barack Obama.
Please click here for a comprehensive update on the Tawergha

Please click here for a comprehensive update on the Tawergha

Please click here for a comprehensive update on the Tawergha