Friday, June 03, 2005


What you won't be hearing from Amnesty International

Khan also defended the organization's choice of the word "gulag."

"We wanted to send a strong message that ... (the detention centers) are actually undermining human rights in a very dramatic way," she said.

Well heck, if you wanted to send a strong message why didn't you call the holding center at Guantanamo Bay a concentration camp? Besides sending the message that the folks at Amnesty International have no sense of proportion they just want to get at the truth.
"Our answer is very simple ... open up the detention centers, allow us and others to visit them," she told reporters. "Transparency is the best antidote to misinformation or incorrect facts."
Hmmm sounds reasonable, doesn't it? But I have the sneaking suspicion that they would not be satisfied with that. Call me a cynic but maybe the good folks over AI have an agenda.
AI lacks staff and financial resources to research 149 countries on the same level. Therefore, AI employs a hierarchy according to which it allocates its resources. Thus, the report includes entries on countries which were intensively researched and visited by AI's staff, alongside states that were not. The second category contains two types of states: (1) those where human rights violations are grave, routine, and which usually deny access to researchers; and (2) countries in which human rights violations are rare and are properly addressed by local nongovernmental organizations and governmental agencies. However, AI does not make this distinction or share its research methodology with the public. Transparency, which AI rightfully demands from governments, is not employed in its own publications. Thus, the considerations that led AI to research one country intensively, and other superficially, are vague and open to interpretation. (Link requires BugMeNot)

This is a good article, by the way, from a former chair of the Israeli section of Amnesty International (1998-9).
The top leadership of Amnesty International USA, which unleashed a blistering attack last week on the Bush administration's handling of war detainees, contributed the maximum $2,000 to Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign. (HT LGF)
And the coup de grace,
And the third rail of bias that no one in mainstream media will touch: Amnesty secretary general Irene Khan is a Muslim. Did her religion influence her outrageously intemperate remarks about the Muslim detainees at Guantanamo Bay?
Good question. Are you shocked by any of this? Thought so. The good news is that this report is having so little impact. GW's responding that the report was absurd took enough air out of it that AI felt the need to respond themselves. A report like this 20 years ago would have gotten a week of air play and it still might. But the new media allows the debate to be shaped in a way the AI did not intend. They are having their motives questioned. It is about time.

John O adds: Chrenkoff sees this silver lining:
One good thing about Amnesty International's Irene Khan calling Gunatanamo Bay facility a gulag: having mined the rich vein of Nazi analogies to tar the modern day's center-right (you know, America is a fascist state, Bush is Hitler, etc.), the international left is now adopting communist analogies to bash the Republicans, thus both expanding their moral vocabulary and implicitly acknowledging that, yes, communism was bad. In fact, as bad as conservatism. It's progress of sorts, but pity that the left can't now retrospectively start campaigning for human rights, freedom and democracy behind the Iron Curtain.
Also, Instapundit notes that "Steven Den Beste spotted Amnesty International jumping the shark two years ago, and drew unfavorable comparisons with the ACLU."

Adds: I think they chose the word gulag carefully, not many people know the history of the gulag other than it was a prison and the treatment was terrible. It is a description that is neutral enough to invoke an idea without provoking a response like, "...that is utterly ridiculous...", except among the minority that know the evil of Soviet communism.

Also, Ace of Spades links to an Eject! (Cubed) essay on why the Gitmo chumps are not POWs.


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