Tuesday, August 18, 2015

18-Aug-15: Should Amnesty International be on your giving list?

The Times article is online
There's an startling exposé in yesterday's London Times ["Amnesty director’s links to global network of Islamists"] that focuses on charges against Yasmin Hussein:
...Director of International Advocacy at Amnesty International. She previously worked at Islamic Relief Worldwide as Director of Communications, External Relations and Advocacy, where she was responsible for dealing with emergency relief and development efforts, developing their global advocacy strategy and lobbying the UN, EU and governments... In 2006, she was voted one of the 100 most influential Asians in Britain. [Yasmin Hussein biography on the United Nations Association UK website, accessed today]
Amnesty's work product is widely treated as credible when human rights violations are under discussion. It expresses its views confidently, publicly and forcefully, on the basis that it's independent, impartial and (a key issue) free of any of the influence-peddling that government money can buy.

But NGO Monitor, one of its long-term critics, has published some serious findings (start here) into just how credible Amnesty's claims to impartiality really are; see "Breaking its own rules: Amnesty's researcher bias and gov't funding", June 4, 2012, as one clear example.

Israel comes in for a great deal of negative attention from Amnesty, much of it long on rhetoric and vitriol, short on evidence. Israel's embassy in London reacted with dismay to a recent Tweet [here] by a key Amnesty figure who claimed:
Palestinian baby burned to death in settler attack. They see their government getting away with murder every day.
Is he unaware there's a serious Israeli police manhunt into the death of that baby, and of his father, going on right now? Despite the hubris and faux-certainty of the Amnesty man's tone, no one actually knows if the deaths are because of "settler attack", or whether "their government" gets away with murder "every day" or just on Tuesdays. He's engaged in incitement advocacy of a virulent, irresponsible kind. It's familiar to anyone watching sections of the "human rights" industry spiral down into irrelevance.

He's not just another loud-mouthed street protester. Here's the obnoxious Tweet writer's self-description:
Amnesty International UK Campaigns Manager: Crisis and Tactical, #Syria and Bouldering the blues. Views all mine https://www.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/kristyan-benedict …
So can we ask how sure of the facts he is? Come to that, how sure is anyone at Amnesty International, a research-based group with a vast budget (close to US $100 million in 2014) of any of its facts or findings?

It's a question that gets a revealing set of (we assume) unintended answers in yesterday's Times article about Yasmin Hussein:
  • "The charity was unaware that [Ms Hussein's] husband... featured in documents released after a criminal trial... [involving] British supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Arab Islamists accused of plotting"
  • Amnesty "did not realise there was any connection to Ms Hussein, to whom he has been married for 20 years, because it did not know until recently that he was her husband..."
  • The husband himself "was unaware of having played any role in the [criminal] case..."
  • "Ms Hussein said she was not aware that any concerns were raised about [her meeting with a key figure in] the “Brotherhoodisation” of Egypt’s education system..."
  • "Ms Hussein said she had no knowledge of the senior [Moslem] Brotherhood positions held by [the person she should not have been meeting]"
  • The meeting she now concedes should never have happened occurred because of "Difficulties in booking a hotel..."
  • "Amnesty said that, with the exception of the overnight stay, it found no evidence to suggest any inappropriate links between Ms Hussein" and the Moslem Brotherhood figure.
  • Ms Hussein says "any connections are purely circumstantial".
For a publicly-funded advocacy organization that issues devastating critiques of governments and public figures based on "impartial" "research" into "human rights", and throws terms like "war crimes" around like football stadium hooligans abusing their opponents, those are some stunning admissions.

What they claim they didn't know about their own key people would be sensational under any conditions. But this particular scandal is about involvement with some of the world's cruelest, most savage practitioners of barbarism. And what kind of research organization doesn't know the troubling identity of the husband of one of its key movers and shakers? What sort of senior human rights figure thinks connections like hers don't need to be disclosed?

There's some Amnesty history when it comes to the Islamists. Elder of Ziyon for instance pointed out yesterday that:
Amnesty campaigner Saleh Hijazi's Facebook profile picture was a photo of Leila Khaled, a PFLP terrorist and airline hijacker, while in 2012, his profile picture was a photo of Khader Adnan, a leader of the Islamic Jihad terror organization.
Amid all the Amnesty professions of "we're not sure about that but we're looking into it right this minute", one thing seems clear to us. As serious as we (who have a heightened sensitivity to people being connected with terror and getting away with it) think the revelations in this sordid matter are, there's no sign Amnesty International's leadership genuinely shares that view. Amnesty says
it did not believe that any of her alleged connections with Islamists represented a conflict of interest. [Nevertheless they] take very seriously any allegations that would call into question our impartiality and is therefore investigating the issues raised." [Yesterday's London Times article]
Score 10 for brazenness. Far from being "in question", Amnesty's professed "impartiality" is in tatters, as anyone other than their most devoted acolytes can see.

No comments: