Coleen Rowley and Ann Wright: "Amnesty’s Shilling for US Wars"
Sunday, July 15, 2012 6:42:36 AM
Libya Misrata Before and After "Humanitarian War"
The new Executive Director of Amnesty International USA – Suzanne Nossel – is a recent U.S. government insider. So it’s a safe bet that AI’s decision to seize upon a topic that dovetailed with American foreign policy interests, "women’s rights in Afghanistan," at the NATO Conference last month in Chicago came directly from her.-- Coleen Rowley and Ann Wright, "Amnesty’s Shilling for US Wars", Antiwar.Com, 22 Jun 2012
Rowley and Wright confirm claims made in my earlier AI blog entry: The New Pro-War Face of Amnesty International, Inc.
New AI director a protege of Holbrooke, Clinton and Albright
The State Department of a government that supports torture, terrorism and perpetual war is not a place where one would expect to recruit the head of an organization that purporsts to defend human rights. Where is the State Department's concern for human rights in Palestine, in Iraq, in Kosovo, in Saudi Arabia? or in any of the other countries under U.S. domination? Yet the State Department features prominently on Suzanne Nossel's resume:
Nossel was hired by AI in January 2012. In her early career, Nossel worked for Ambassador Richard Holbrooke under the Clinton Administration at the United Nations. Most recently, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations at the U.S. Department of State, where she was responsible for multilateral human rights, humanitarian affairs, women’s issues, public diplomacy, press and congressional relations.-- Coleen Rowley and Ann Wright, "Amnesty’s Shilling for US Wars", Antiwar.Com, 22 Jun 2012
She also played a leading role in U.S. engagement at the U.N. Human Rights Council (where her views about the original Goldstone Report on behalf of Palestinian women did not quite rise to the same level of concerns for the women in countries that U.S.-NATO has attacked militarily).
Nossel would have worked for and with Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Samantha Power and Susan Rice, and undoubtedly helped them successfully implement their "Right to Protect (R2P)" – otherwise known as "humanitarian intervention" – as well as the newly created "Atrocity Prevention Board."
Forget letter-writing: bomb villages instead
Remember Madeleine Albright, the woman who helped to dismember Yugoslavia and supported genocidal sanctions against Iraq?
... we think the price is worth it.-- Madeleine Albright, in a 1996 CBS Lesley Stahl interview, when asked whether 500,000 dead Iraqi children was too high a price to pay
Nossel, an Albright protege, argues in behalf of war-making -- what she calls "assertive leadership".
An excerpt from Nossel’s 2004 paper on "Smart Power" published in the Council on Foreign Relations’ Foreign Affairs magazine sounds a lot like Samantha Power’s (and also traces back to Madeleine Albright’s) theories:-- Coleen Rowley and Ann Wright, "Amnesty’s Shilling for US Wars", Antiwar.Com, 22 Jun 2012
"To advance from a nuanced dissent to a compelling vision, progressive policymakers should turn to the great mainstay of twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy: liberal internationalism, which posits that a global system of stable liberal democracies would be less prone to war.
"Washington, the theory goes, should thus offer assertive leadership — diplomatic, economic, and not least, military [our emphasis] — to advance a broad array of goals: self-determination, human rights, free trade, the rule of law, economic development, and the quarantine and elimination of dictators and weapons of mass destruction (WMD)."
So perhaps Amnesty International USA will soon be telling us that the loss of 30,000 to 50,000 lives in Libya is "worth it" and the loss of countless lives in Syria is also a "price" worth paying -- especially since Nossel and Albright are not the ones doing the paying.
Albright featured speaker at 18 May 2012 AIUSA conference in NATO's behalf
Then I read something absolutely shocking: On 18 May 2012, at Chicago, Amnesay International held a "NATO Shadow Summit" in which Madeleine Albright was the featured speaker.
The article finds a curious parallel between the new AIUSA pro-NATO propaganda offensive and a 10 Mar 2012 CIA "Special Memorandum" on the need to use "Human Rights" to seduce Europeans into supporting NATO war-making.
The "CIA Red Cell," a group of analysts assigned to think "outside the box" to anticipate emerging challenges, was right to worry in March 2010 when the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) found that 80 percent of French and German citizens were opposed to continued deployment of their countries’ militaries in the U.S.-NATO war in Afghanistan.-- Coleen Rowley and Ann Wright, "Amnesty’s Shilling for US Wars", Antiwar.Com, 22 Jun 2012
Even though public apathy had, up to that point, enabled French and German politicians to "ignore their voters" and steadily increase their governments’ troop contributions to Afghanistan, the CIA’s newly-created think tank was concerned that a forecasted increase in NATO casualties in the upcoming "bloody summer … could become a tipping point in converting passive opposition into active calls for immediate withdrawal."
The "Red Cell" memo was quickly leaked, however, furnishing a remarkable window into how U.S. government propaganda is designed to work upon NATO citizenry to maintain public support for the euphemistically titled "International Security Assistance Force" (ISAF) waging war on Afghans.
Amnesty International struck similar themes in announcements posted online as well as billboard advertisements on Chicago bus stops. "NATO: Keep the Progress Going!" beckoned us to find out more on Sunday, May 20, 2012, the day thousands of activists marched in Chicago in protest of NATO’s wars.
No direct audience questions allowed
Although the "Summit" advertised "Free Admissions", Rowley and Wright were initially repulsed by hotel security guards. When they did gain entry, they heard Albright and Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues and several other panelists answer questions on selected note-cards. There was no direct audience participation.
We noted, even in that short time, however, how easy it was for these U.S. government officials to use the "good and necessary cause" of women’s rights to get the audience into the palm of their collective hand — just as the CIA’s "strategic communication" expert predicted!When an AIUSA blogger attempted to justify the tilt towards NATO, many AIUSA members posted outraged comments. E.g.:
Not everyone was hoodwinked however. Even before the "Summit" was held, Amnesty realized it had a PR problem as a result of its billboard advertisement touting progress in Afghanistan. An Amnesty official tried to put forth a rather lame defense blaming an accidental poor choice of wording.
"The posters are pro-NATO and play into prevailing tropes about so called ‘humanitarian intervention’ via ‘think of the women & children’ imagery. The posters & the forum that includes Albright are neither slight slips nor without context. AI is coping heat because they have miss-stepped dramatically. There is NOTHING subtle about either the imagery nor the message!
True believers in death and destruction
Why is AIUSA now doing NATO's bidding? Rowley and Wright give the answer that the AIUSA apologist obviously could not give:
So we will venture an answer that probably lies in the fact that all of the powerful feminist-war hawks who have risen to become Secretary of State (or are waiting in the wings) are now taking their lead from the ruthless Grand Dame who paved the way for them, Madeleine Albright — (see Coleen Rowley’s recent articles: "Obama’s New ‘Atrocity Prevention Board’: Reasons for Skepticism" and "Militarization of the Mothers: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby, from Mother’s Day for Peace").
It’s also possible the highest ranks of the feminist wing of military interventionism (i.e. Madeleine Albright, Condi Rice, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, et al) are so passionate and hubristic about the nobility of their goal and "American exceptionalism" that some have simply succumbed to a kind of almost religious (blind faith) type fervor.
So it looks like men are not the only ones seduced by the mad god of war; women too fall under the spell of this treacherous deity. Unfortunately, one of these valkyries has taken over Amnesty International.
The authors conclude that AIUSA is cutting its own throat:
It also seems that a human rights NGO, in this case Amnesty International, which had gained a solid reputation and hence the trust of those it has helped through the years, will be jeopardized in aligning itself with the U.S. Secretary of State and NATO.
This is exactly how the Nobel Peace Prize got corrupted, aligning itself with the U.S. Secretary of State and NATO, which is why Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire withdrew from the Nobel Peace forum held in Chicago during NATO.
Afghan women ridicule AI's new pro-NATO stance
Others too have begun to notice the Amnesty International sell-out to ZATO. E.g.:
Why AI would help NATO and the U.S. State Department push the false narrative of women's “progress” after eleven years of war is debatable. Members of the organization are presenting this question and being told that women's rights, education, and even health have prospered since the fall of the Taliban.-- Lisa Savage, "Why is Amnesty International calling for more US/NATO war and occupation in Afghanistan?", Stop The War Coalition, 04 Jul 2012
In a country where women's life expectancy is 51 years, where women are jailed for adultery after being the victims of rape, and where deteriorating security means that many newly built schools stand empty, this is a specious claim.
Fahima Vorgetts of the Afghan Women's Fund, speaking at a 27 Jun CodePink international conference, refutes the Amnesty International claim that the women of Afghanistan need more NATO war-making:
“Eleven years of war did not change the situation for women very much, especially in rural areas, and violence against women has escalated over the past few years. Those who commit crimes against women are not punished—laws protecting women’s rights are not implemented. Afghan women are the victims of violence from three directions: NATO bombing, insurgents, and their own government, which protects religious groups and warlords in positions of authority, some of whom have private militias.”-- Fahima Vorgetts, quoted by Lisa Savage in "Why is Amnesty International calling for more US/NATO war and occupation in Afghanistan?", Stop The War Coalition, 04 Jul 2012
The Lisa Savage lists other ways in which NATO's war-making is destroying Afghan women under the guise of saving them:
Environmental concerns are also made worse by war and impact women. During the past three decades of war an estimated 60-80% of the forests and orchards of Afghanistan were destroyed. Dr. Mariam Raqib of the reforestation organization Afghanistan Samsortya found that children were gathering scraps of plastic from trash heaps to bring home to their mothers as cooking fuel.-- Lisa Savage, "Why is Amnesty International calling for more US/NATO war and occupation in Afghanistan?", Stop The War Coalition, 04 Jul 2012
Herbicides sprayed on the poppy crop affect people as well, and miscarriages and birth defects appear to be on the rise. It is sad but not surprising that Afghanistan continues to rank among the highest in the world in childhood and maternal mortality after more than a decade of NATO occupation. Where is the development money to address these problems?
AI's answer to these objections, given at the London screening of "Peace Unveiled": "[put] pressure on your government to keep the troops in Afghanistan and not to withdraw them after 2014.'” As AI's new hero, George Bush, said: "Stay the course!"
See also my earlier blog entry "The New Pro-War Face of Amnesty International, Inc.".